FMCSA denies request for 18.5-hour on-duty period from environmental emergency response companies

user-gravatar Headshot

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has denied a petition from a group of four environmental emergency response companies for relief from the 14-hour hours of service rule.

Hepaco, Heritage Environmental Services, Lewis Environmental and Moran Environmental Recovery requested the exemption in August 2018 for drivers responding in direct assistance to environmental emergencies. In part, the companies asked that their drivers be able to work up to 18.5 hours of non-consecutive on-duty time before a reset.

The companies in their request said 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.” They added that the exemption would have allowed them to better respond to hazmat spills and other environmental emergencies.

FMCSA in its denial said there is no basis to allow drivers to drive after the 18th hour of coming on duty. The companies noted its drivers would not exceed eight hours of driving time during a shift, but FMCSA said it doesn’t believe limiting drivers to eight hours of drive time offsets the safety risks of an 18.5-hour driving window.