September 26, 2017 12:15 PM, EDT

National Tank Truck Carriers Seeks Five-Year Exemption From Rest Break Rules

Tank Truck John Sommers II for Transport Topics

The National Tank Truck Carriers has requested that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration grant commercial vehicle drivers who transport petroleum-based fuels a five-year exemption from a federally required 30-minute rest break.

The exemption would enable drivers hauling petroleum-based fuels to instead use the 30 minutes attending the load.

Drivers who park their vehicles must attend to them because they are hazardous-material loads, and NTTC said it believes that intermittent movement of the vehicle increases the risk of a crash.

The safest approach is to keep the vehicle moving toward its destination, NTTC said.

Also, NTTC cites the Transportation Security Administration’s warning to truckers that vehicles transporting hazmat are “targets of choice” for terrorists and thus should not be parked en route.

FMCSA is seeking comment on NTTC’s application for exemption for 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, which was posted Sept. 26.

Federal hours-of-service rules include a requirement that drivers of property-carrying commercial motor vehicles take a rest break of at least 30 minutes when eight hours have passed since the end of the driver’s last off-duty or sleeper-berth period of at least 30 minutes. However, the requirement to take a minimum 30-minute rest break does not apply to drivers operating within a 100-air-mile radius “shorthaul” exemption area.

While NTTC estimates that 38,000 tractors perform operations daily, the number that would require the exemption would be much smaller. That’s because most CMV drivers transporting petroleum products qualify for the 100-air-mile exception and are not required to observe a 30-minute break. The exception relieves CMV drivers of the duty to maintain a log if their work is done within a 100-mile radius of the normal work reporting location during the duty day, return to the work-reporting location and quit work within 12 hours.

NTTC also said that drivers hauling gasoline are required to keep their trucks moving.

A regulation of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration states, “All shipments of hazardous materials must be transported without unnecessary delay, from and including the time of commencement of the loading of the hazardous material until its final unloading at destination.”