Waste Management Holdings Inc. has submitted a request to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration asking for a five-year exemption from certain hours-of-service rules.
According to a notice scheduled for publication in the Federal Register on July 17, Waste Management is seeking exemption from the HOS rules that apply to shorthaul drivers. If granted, the exemption would pertain to 18,000 drivers in 84 subsidiaries who operate trucks to collect waste and recyclable materials.
The shorthaul exception relaxes electronic logging device rules for drivers who return to their starting location within 12 hours of beginning work, take 10 consecutive hours off between shifts and do not exceed 100 air miles from their starting location.
“A driver who exceeds the 12-hour limit loses the shorthaul exception and must immediately prepare [records of duty status] for the entire day, often by means of an electronic logging device,” FMCSA’s notice in the Federal Register states.
In its request, Waste Management asks that its shorthaul commercial vehicle drivers be allowed to return to their starting location within 14 hours of coming on duty. According to the Federal Register document, these drivers occasionally cannot complete their workday within 12 hours.
Furthermore, Waste Management states in its application that ELDs “delay and distract” drivers who make frequent stops to collect trash because the devices demand interaction. The company’s application claims that drivers who collect trash have to interact with ELDs “hundreds if not thousands of times a day.” The application also claims that ELDs in trash trucks hinder safety more than they help.
“[Waste Management] asserts that ELDs are not designed for such operations and that they lack ‘a provision for blocking service time,’ ” FMCSA states in the document.
Waste Management’s request compares the work of trash truck drivers with that of other shorthaul drivers who spend a lot of time “conducting nondriving duties,” such as truck operators in the ready-mixed concrete industry and asphalt-paving business.
The company maintains a fatigue management program, which uses video to study events that indicate driver fatigue, such as aggressive braking, steering or acceleration.
Waste Management is the latest in a series of groups that has requested reprieve from the ELD mandate. In early April, Wilcox Truck Line requested a five-year exemption from ELD use when transporting materials for the Idaho National Laboratory. In March, the Truck Renting and Leasing Association requested an exemption from the mandate through the end of the year for property-carrying trucks rented for 30 days or fewer.
In early July, FMCSA confirmed that it denied the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s request for an exemption from the ELD rule. The group had requested a five-year exemption for motor carriers that were considered small businesses under the Small Business Administration’s classification system and had a proven safety history with no attributable at-fault crashes and a federal Carrier Safety Rating higher than “unsatisfactory.”
A bipartisan group of House lawmakers introduced legislation June 21 that would offer some flexibility under HOS laws. The Honest Operators Undertaking Road Safety, or HOURS Act, would exempt from HOS rules truckers hauling livestock or agricultural products within 150 air miles of their load’s source.
FMCSA is requesting public comment through Aug. 16 on Waste Management’s application for exemption.