FMCSA Grants ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor LLC HOS ELD 14 Hour Rule Exemption

The FMCSA Decision

FMCSA announces its decision to grant ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor, LLC (ArcelorMittal) exemptions from the hours of service (HOS) and parts and accessories rules. One exemption will allow ArcelorMittal's employee-drivers with commercial driver's licenses (CDLs) who transport steel coils between their production and shipping locations on public roads to work up to 16 hours per day and return to work with less than the mandatory 10 consecutive hours off duty. The other exemption will allow ArcelorMittal to use coil carriers that do not meet the “heavy hauler trailer” definition, height of rear side marker lights restrictions, tire loading restrictions, and the coil securement requirements.

ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor LLC Request for 14 Hour Rule Exemption

Under 49 CFR 395.3(a)(2), a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver is prohibited from operating a CMV after having been on duty for 14 consecutive hours following 10 or more consecutive hours off duty. Once an individual has reached the end of this 14 consecutive-hour period, he or she cannot drive a CMV again without taking a minimum of 10 consecutive hours off duty.

ArcelorMittal (USDOT 1098829) operates a steel plant that is located in East Chicago, Indiana, its principal place of business. The plant currently encompasses an area which has several public roadways that run through its present location. Steel coils produced in one portion of the plant require driver-employees to travel on public roadways at two points to move the coils to another portion of the plant for further processing or for shipment to customers. Both points are controlled intersections, having either traffic lights or a combination of traffic lights and signs in the area, where the vehicles cross. The first public road the CMVs cross is Riley Road. The crossing is controlled by a traffic signal in both directions. The distance traveled at this crossing is 80 feet in length. The average number of crossings at this intersection is 24 per day. The second crossing is at Dickey Road and 129th Street. The distance traveled at this crossing is .2 miles. The trucks cross 129th Street 24 times per day.

All employee-drivers are required to hold CDLs and adhere to the regulations that apply to CMV drivers. Specialized equipment and trailers are used to move steel coils due to the size of the coils. The tractors maximum speed is 30-35 miles per hour, but when moving a fully loaded trailer the maximum speed is 15 miles per hour.

Trailer beds are configured in such a way as create a cradle to hold the steel coils in place on the bed of the trailer. The trailers have a bed height of 68 inches, and bed width of 114 inches. The trailers maximum height is 14 feet.

The tractors and trailer in combination unloaded have a gross combination weight of 77,000 pounds. When fully loaded the gross combination vehicle weight is 263,171 pounds. Additionally, the trailers have off-road tires. These types of tires are necessary to operate both inside and outside the plant safely, given the type of roadway surface inside the plant area and the weight of the loads. These vehicles have many of the same features of a typical tractor and trailer, but do not meet all of the parts and accessories requirements in 49 CFR part 393.

When employee-drivers move these vehicles, they are fully marked as an “oversize load” and have flags on the front of the tractor. The driving of these vehicles amounts to 10 percent of the employee-drivers total work day. ArcelorMittal contends that none of these employee-drivers work more than 16 hours per day and advises that a 16-hour work day is the exception, not the rule.

According to ArcelorMittal, the current hours-of-service (HOS) regulations create problems for employee-drivers as these employees typically work an 8-hour shift plus overtime while employees in the production and shipping areas work 12-hour shifts. Employee-drivers must go home under the current arrangement leaving a 4-hour gap between production and the driver's schedule, creating a possible shortage of coils for shipping or processing. ArcelorMittal asserts that the limited amount of employees used to drive the CMVs make it difficult to schedule when the vehicles move. ArcelorMittal anticipates only 3 of the 24 crossings at each noted intersection would occur after the 14th hour on-duty.

ArcelorMittal requests an exemption from 49 CFR part 395 for its employee-drivers. Under a waiver of the HOS regulations, employee-drivers would be able to follow the same schedule as the employees in the production and shipping areas. ArcelorMittal could then minimize the chances of possible shortages of coils for shipping or processing. ArcelorMittal advises that it would ensure all employee-drivers would not work more than 16 hours per shift, would receive 8 hours off duty between shifts, and would not be allowed to drive more than 10 percent of their total work day.

ArcelorMittal also requests exemptions for its coil carriers from certain sections in 49 CFR part 393 as follows: The heavy hauler trailer definition in § 393.5; the height of rear side marker lights in § 393.11 Table 1—Footnote 4; the tire loading restrictions in § 393.75(f); and the coil securement requirements in § 393.120. As previously noted, the vehicles used to transport steel coils have many of the same features of a typical tractor and trailer, but do not meet all of the parts and accessories requirements in 49 CFR part 393.

According to ArcelorMittal, its equipment was designed for in-facility use and very limited road use. Public roadways are crossed due to operational necessity. ArcelorMittal advises that they have never had an issue at the crossings mentioned with their equipment or drivers. The coils are well-secured in the vehicles with the cradle design of their trailers. The time it would take to secure the coils per the regulations would be longer than the transit time it takes to move the coils from part of the plant to another.

ArcelorMittal asserts that it has taken additional precautions to make sure the public roadway crossings are at the shortest points and only at controlled intersections. ArcelorMittal ensures all lights are properly working on both the tractor and trailer. They also flag and mark the vehicles as “oversize” loads. Trailers have conspicuity tape down the entire side to make them more visible to other traffic. ArcelorMittal believes that the additional precautions ensure a level of safety that is equivalent to or exceeds the level of safety achieved by following the regulations.

ArcelorMittal acknowledges in its application that these drivers would still be subject to all of the other applicable Federal regulations. This includes qualification of drivers, controlled substance and alcohol testing and inspection, and maintenance and repair of vehicles.

Included in ArcelorMittal's application are illustrations of the plant's location, public roads crossed, and pictures of the tractors and trailers used to transport the steel coils. A copy of ArcelorMittal's application for the exemptions is available for review in the docket for this notice.

Period of the Exemption

These exemptions are effective from September 23, 2016 through September 23, 2021.

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