The Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association has asked the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to grant drivers carrying loads that are oversize or overweight an exemption to the the 30-minute break requirement of the 2013 hours of service rule.
The 30-minute break requirement was instituted in July of last year, when the latest hours of service rule took effect. It requires drivers to take a 30-minute break within the first eight hours of their on-duty time.
Compliance with this requirement is “extremely difficult” for specialty loads haulers, SC&RA says, due to state permit restrictions that often limit when and where oversized/overweight loads can be transported.
The exemption is requested for all permitted loads, according to SC&RA’s application for exemption.
“The 30-minute break uniquely affects OS/OW loads and has exacerbated the number of instances in which drivers have had to park these loads at roadside, consequently impacting the safety of both the general public and the driver,” according to the application, posted Nov. 24 in the Federal Register.
Average oversize and overweight loads are 15-16 feet wide and longer than 100 feet, according to SC&RA. Finding parking for these loads is more difficult than with other loads, SC&RA says, and drivers of the specialty loads are often forced to park alongside highways or exit ramps during the required 30-minute break.
“SC&RA does not foresee any negative impact to safety from the requested exemption. It believes that granting the exemption would have a favorable impact on overall safety by reducing the frequency of drivers resorting to less than ideal parking options, thereby reducing the frequency of lanes being partially or fully obscured,” according to the application.
FMCSA is accepting public comment on the application for 30 days.