Four environmental emergency response companies have filed for an exemption from the 14-hour hours of service rule for drivers providing direct assistance in environmental emergencies.
Hepaco, Heritage Environmental Services, Lewis Environmental and Moran Environmental Recovery have approximately 758 CDL holders who would be able to operate under the exemption, if granted. These employees are hybrid driver/operator/technicians whose job duties, in addition to driving, include industrial maintenance, spill response, sampling, lab packing and waste management.
All four companies are members of the Spill Control Association of America (SCAA), whose members are contractually required “to provide direct assistance to responsible parties who are experiencing environmental emergencies or potential environmental emergencies.”
In their application, the companies state the HOS rules “have always been an issue for emergency response companies” because the initial response hours “are the most critical in an environmental emergency and the ability to quickly respond is vital.” The exemption, the companies say, would allow them to “respond to a release or threat of a release of oil and other hazardous materials.” Under the requested exemption, drivers would operate under the following conditions:
- On-duty period would not exceed four-and-a-half additional hours for initial response
- Any driver who exceeds the 14-hour period would in no case exceed a total of eight hours drive time
- Drivers would not exceed 70 hours on duty in eight days
- Drivers would be required to take 10 hours off duty, subsequent to the duty day
- All activities would be subject to the ELD rule
The companies are requesting the exemption for a five-year period. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is requesting public comments on the request, which can be made here through Sept. 10.