FMCSA Denies Pipe Line Contractors Association 8-Day HOS ELD Exemption
FMCSA announces its decision to deny the application of the Pipe Line Contractors Association (PLCA) from the requirement that a motor carrier install and require each of its drivers to use an electronic logging device (ELD) to record the driver's hours-of-service (HOS) no later than December 18, 2017. PLCA had requested the exemption for all pipeline contractor vehicle drivers who typically use the short-haul exception to the logging requirement, which also exempts them from using ELDs. Sometimes, however, they may exceed the conditions of the short-haul exception more than 8 days in a 30-day period, which would subject them to the ELD rule. FMCSA has analyzed the exemption application and public comments, and has determined that the applicant would not achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved absent such exemption. FMCSA therefore denies PLCA's application for exemption.
Request for Exemption from the
Pipe Line Contractors Association
The PLCA is an industry trade association that negotiates labor agreements, encourages safe practices in pipeline construction, and seeks the resolution of problems common to those in the pipeline construction industry. PLCA has been in existence since 1948 and currently has 77 members who collectively employ approximately 30,000 to 40,000 workers depending upon the level of pipeline work in any year. The drivers who would be covered under the exemption operate flatbed trucks that haul heavy equipment, dump trucks, skid trucks, water trucks, pilot cars and buses that transport workers from the assembly point to the pipeline right-of-way. These drivers possess CDLs and almost always operate within 100 miles of their assembly point, and meet the other requirements of the short haul exception in 49 CFR 395.1(e)(1). However, the drivers may not return within the 12 hours required for use of the short-haul exception.
According to PLCA, exempting pipeline contractors from the ELD requirement would have no impact on safety for several reasons. First, drivers would continue to maintain written RODS on any day that they exceed the requirements of the short-haul exemption. Second, pipeline contractor drivers typically spend very little time operating on public roads. Third, pipeline contractors are required to maintain time records for their drivers. Finally, pipeline contractors and drivers otherwise must comply with all the HOS regulations. PLCA stated that granting this exemption would result in a level of safety that is equal to or greater than the level of safety achieved by complying with the ELD rule. A copy of the PLCA application for exemption is available in the docket for this notice.