FMCSA Grants U.S. Department of Defense DOD HOS ELD 30-minute Rest Break Exemption

The FMCSA Decision

FMCSA announces its decision to renew the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command's (SDDC) exemption from the minimum 30-minute rest break provision of the Agency's hours-of-service (HOS) regulations for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers contracted by SDDC for special activities. SDDC currently holds an exemption valid through October 27, 2018. The exemption renewal is for five years and allows SDDC contracted-drivers to use 30 minutes or more of attendance time to meet the HOS rest break requirements, provided they do not perform any other work during the break. The terms and conditions of the current exemption remain in place for the five-year period.

U.S. Department of Defense Request for Renewal of 30-minute Rest Break Exemption

The SDDC manages the motor carrier industry contracts for the DOD. Certain motor carriers under contract to the SDDC provide protective services while transporting weapons, munitions, and sensitive/classified cargo.

SDDC's initial exemption application for relief from the HOS rest break requirement was submitted in 2013; a copy of the application is in the docket identified at the beginning of this notice. That application describes fully the nature of the operations of SDDC's contracted drivers. FMCSA published a notice granting the exemption request on October 28, 2013 (effective October 22), and made it valid through October 21, 2015 (78 FR 64265). The Agency renewed the exemption on October 7, 2015 (80 FR 60740), with an expiration date of October 21, 2017. However, section 5206(b)(2)(A) of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act extended any HOS exemption in effect on the date of enactment of that Act for a period of 5 years from the date the exemption was granted. Because section 1003 of the FAST Act made the provisions of Division A (which includes section 5206) retroactively effective to October 1, 2015, the original SDDC exemption, valid through October 21, 2015, was extended by operation of law for 5 years from the date it was granted, in other words through October 21, 2018.

The SDDC requests renewal of a limited exemption from the HOS regulation pertaining to rest breaks [49 CFR 395.3(a)(3)(ii)] to allow SDDC-contracted drivers providing dual driver-protective services to be treated the same as drivers transporting explosives. As provided in § 395.1(q), operators of CMVs carrying Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 explosives subject to the requirement for a minimum 30-minute rest break in Section 395.3(a)(3)(ii) may use 30 minutes or more of “attendance time” to meet the requirement for a rest break.

Period of the Exemption

The renewed exemption is effective through October 21, 2023.

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