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September 6, 2018 1:30 PM, EDT

Pavement Trade Association Files HOS Exemption Request

Concrete truck heads to unload its payload Getty Images

The American Concrete Pavement Association has requested exemption from certain hours-of-service regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The ACPA represents 400 companies and 2,300 people involved in the design and construction of pavement.

According to a document published in the Federal Register on Sept. 6, ACPA is seeking exemption from two HOS rules: the 30-minute rest break provision and the requirement that shorthaul drivers using the record of duty status exception return to their work-reporting location within 12 hours of coming on duty.

Exemption from the 30-minute rest break provision would enable drivers transporting ready-mixed concrete in vehicles other than those outfitted with rotating mixer drums to use 30 minutes or more of on-duty “waiting time” to satisfy the requirement for the 30-minute rest break, provided they do not perform any other work during the break.

The other exemption would allow drivers using the record of duty status exception to return to their work-reporting location within 14 hours instead of the usual 12 hours.

According to the Federal Register, one reason behind ACPA’s application is the time-sensitive nature of concrete transportation.

ACPA maintains that “these are all perishable products that are not useable if they are not dropped and spread within a brief delivery window. The drivers do not face the same fatigue factors as drivers of longhaul trucks and therefore do not pose the same risk of a fatigue-related accident as longhaul drivers.”

A typical mainline paving project (such as paving highways, airports and streets) involves mixing concrete at a central mix batch plant located 3 to 10 miles from the paving site, transporting the freshly mixed concrete to the paving machine, placing the concrete pavement, texturing the slab surface, curing the concrete slab and saw-cutting the pavement. Concrete haulers must deliver the material within a time frame specified by the transportation agency.

These are all perishable products that are not useable if they are not dropped and spread within a brief delivery window.

The American Concrete Pavement Association, according to the Federal Register

“The concrete is essentially made to order, then delivered by end-dump trucks so there is a steady and constant delivery of material that keeps pace with the paving equipment,” according to the request. “Any issue that delays the well-orchestrated, just–in-time delivery of batches of concrete can result in batches being turned away by inspectors, the paving operation being shut down temporarily and, ultimately, cause time and cost overruns.”

FMCSA has previously offered exemption from the 30-minute rest break provision to drivers hauling ready-mixed concrete. The agency granted the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association a limited exemption from the 30-minute break requirement in 2015. It also granted a similar exemption to the National Asphalt Pavement Association in January.

ACPA’s request states that the same reasoning should apply to drivers moving ready-mixed concrete in vehicles that do not have rotating mixer drums. The association points out that, because runs from production facilities to delivery sites are usually less than 10 miles, haulers typically drive only a few hours a day.

ACPA is the latest in a series of groups that has requested exemption from certain HOS rules. Four environmental services companies petitioned for a five-year exemption from HOS regulations for drivers involved in providing direct assistance in environmental emergencies Aug. 9. In mid-July, Waste Management Holdings Inc. submitted a similar request.

FMCSA will take public comment on ACPA’s exemption request through Oct. 6.

The agency will then review public comments and conduct safety analyses to determine whether granting the exemption would result in a level of safety equivalent to or greater than the level that would be achieved by compliance with the regulation.