AGC submitted comments this week, individually and as part of a construction coalition, to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requesting that construction industry drivers be exempted from hours of service (HOS) rules.
The comments pointed out that the type of driving undertaken by industry drivers does not create the same demands or fatigue concerns as long haul drivers. Because of the seasonal nature of construction and demands on contractors to complete projects under tight time limits the HOS restrictions have significant negative and unnecessary impacts on construction. Congress and FMCSA have acknowledged this problem by providing a variety of exemptions from HOS requirements for some construction operations and materials. However, these limited exemptions, while somewhat helpful, create confusion in implementation and enforcement.
Should FMCSA decide to not offer a broad exemption, the comments made a numbers of specific recommendations that would make the current rules less onerous, including: expanding the short haul exemption to 150 miles and making it uniform, eliminating the return to work location requirement, allowing for additional driving hours when adverse weather conditions occur, and allowing for flexibility in use of sleeper berths to meet off-duty requirements. The comments pointed out that these recommendations can be implemented without undermining driving safety.
FMCSA solicited input as it considers a rule making to address the growing number of criticisms of the existing rules from drivers in many impacted industries. AGC and eleven of our construction industry allies jointly filed comments to demonstrate a strong unified voice in calling for reform of the rules. AGC’s individual comments added additional information and background in support of the coalition’s position.
For additional information, contact Brian Deery at [email protected] or (703) 837-5319.
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