FMCSA Grants Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association HOS ELD 30-minute Rest Break Exemption

The FMCSA Decision

FMCSA announces its decision to renew the Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association's (SC&RA) exemption from the 30-minute rest break rule of the Agency's hours-of-service (HOS) regulations for certain commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. SC&RA currently holds an exemption valid through November 1, 2018. The exemption renewal is for five years. All qualifying motor carriers and drivers operating mobile cranes with a rated lifting capacity of greater than 30 tons are exempt from the 30-minute break provision.

Specialized Carriers and Rigging  Association Request for 30-minute Rest Break Exemption

The SC&RA's initial application for exemption from the provisions of the 30-minute break rule was submitted in 2014; a copy of that application is in the docket identified at the beginning of this notice. The 2014 application describes fully the nature of SC&RA's operations and CMV drivers. The exemption, limited to drivers of oversize/overweight (OW/OW) vehicles, was granted on June 18, 2015 (80 FR 34957) and extended to June 17, 2020 (see 81 FR 79556, November 14, 2016).

SC&RA subsequently requested an exemption from the 30-minute rest break and the 14-hour driving window for drivers of cranes with a lifting capacity of more than 30 tones. FMCSA granted an exemption from the 30-minute rule, but not from the 14-hour rule, on November 1, 2016 (81 FR 75727). SC&RA requested a renewal of that exemption.

The 2016 exemption excuses drivers operating mobile cranes with a rated lifting capacity of greater than 30 tons from the requirement to take a 30-minute break. SC&RA advises that there are approximately 85,000 trained and certified mobile crane operators in the United States, and, of these, approximately 65,000 operate cranes with a lifting capacity over 30 tons. While some of these cranes require an OS/OW permit, others do not. The 2016 exemption is therefore more inclusive than the 2015 exemption (now extended to 2020). SC&RA states that the HOS rules create complications because it is difficult to find suitable parking when crane drivers are required to go off duty. SC&RA cites data indicating that there is a shortage of parking places for CMVs in the United States and notes ongoing Federal and State efforts to address this problem. Parking for cranes is even more limited because of their size. SC&RA asserts that these two HOS rules often require crane drivers to stop operating a CMV to avoid violating their provisions. The result is that cranes are often parked on the shoulder of public roads. SC&RA states the width of some cranes means they cannot be parked entirely off the travel lanes, creating a safety hazard for their own drivers and others.

SC&RA describes the unpredictable nature of the typical workday of a crane operator. It lists a variety of variables that can complicate the scheduling of operations, including delays waiting for the item to be lifted to arrive at the work site or to be rigged for lifting. Unexpected inclement weather can also trigger delays. SC&RA asserts that the primary result is that the workday may be extended unexpectedly. Thus, timing a crane's movement from the worksite and onto public roads at the end of the day is highly problematic. It notes that State and local restrictions limit the hours of the day, and sometimes the days of the week, that cranes may move on public roads. In addition, the movement of cranes may require a pilot car, the display of signs and lights, and even a police escort. Cranes normally move much slower than the posted speed limit, and are highly susceptible to weather and traffic conditions.

SC&RA does not foresee any negative impact to safety from the requested exemption. It believes that continuing the exemption would have a favorable impact on overall safety by reducing the frequency of cranes being parked along public roads. It points out that its members generally drive a crane less than 2 hours a day and have low crash rates.

FMCSA has not received any reports of accidents attributable to the 30-minute exemption and has concluded that a renewal of the exemption, subject to the terms and conditions imposed, will achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or graer than, the level that would be achieved absent such exemption.

It should also be noted that this renewed exemption is broader in scope than the original 2015 exemption (now extended to 2020) because it covers, not just cranes required to have an OS/OW permit, but all cranes with a lifting capacity over 30 tons. As a result, the 2015 exemption may have been largely, Start Printed Page 60950if not entirely, superseded by this exemption. The 2015 exemption (extended to 2020) remains in place, but will expire by its own terms in 2020, while this renewed exemption will remain in effect until November 1, 2023.

Terms of the Exemption

1. All motor carriers and drivers operating mobile cranes with a rated lifting capacity of greater than 30 tons are exempt from the 30-minute break requirement of 49 CFR 395.3(a)(3)(ii). The lifting capacity of the crane must be displayed on a manufacturer's certification plate on the crane or in manufacturer's documentation carried on the vehicle.

2. Drivers must have a copy of this exemption document in their possession while operating under the terms of the exemption. The exemption document must be presented to law enforcement officials upon request.

3. Motor carriers operating under this exemption must have a “Satisfactory” safety rating with FMCSA, or be “Unrated.” Motor carriers with “Conditional” or “Unsatisfactory” FMCSA safety ratings are prohibited from using this exemption.

Period of the Exemption

This exemption from the requirements of 49 CFR 395.3(a)(3)(ii) is effective November 1, 2018 through November 1, 2023, 11:59 p.m. local time.

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