FMCSA grants HOS relief to truckers hauling food, water for firefighters responding to disasters

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The National Mobile Shower and Catering Association received an exemption from certain hours of service provisions for drivers providing food and water services for federally contracted firefighters. (NMSCA photo)The National Mobile Shower and Catering Association received an exemption from certain hours of service provisions for drivers providing food and water services for federally contracted firefighters. (NMSCA photo)

A group representing truck drivers who haul equipment providing food and water services for federally contracted forest firefighters and similar emergency workers has been granted relief from certain hours of service provisions.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced in a notice published Tuesday in the Federal Register that it has granted a waiver to the National Mobile Shower and Catering Association (NMSCA) to allow its member companies’ drivers to extend the 14-hour on-duty period to up to 16 hours while still driving no more than 11 hours. The group was also granted a waiver allowing the drivers to use on-duty, not-driving time to satisfy their 30-minute break requirement.

FMCSA says the group’s request stated the drivers rarely drive 11 hours in a shift, as the nature of firefighting support operations requires them to spend most of their shift in on-duty, not-driving status.

Additionally, the group received a waiver for covered drivers to extend the eight days in 30 electronic logging device exemption to 12 days in 30, allowing them to keep paper logs as long as they don’t work more than 12 days in a 30-day period that would require them to keep logs.

The waivers apply to NMSCA member drivers who are responding under a “Resource Order,” an order issued by a federal agency directing firefighters and supporting personnel to respond to forest fires and similar emergencies.

While granting the above waivers, FMCSA also denied a request by the group to allow “waiting time” to extend the 16-hour on-duty window, as well as a request to extend the weekly limits for on-duty time from 60 hours on-duty in seven days to 80 hours on-duty in seven days.

In its request for HOS relief, NMSCA said drivers for approximately 30 companies would be covered by the exemptions.