FMCSA Grants Rail Delivery Services Inc 100 Air-mile Radius 12 Hours HOS ELD Exemption

The FMCSA Decision

FMCSA announces its decision to grant Rail Delivery Services, Inc. (RDS), an exemption from the logbook requirements for its drivers who may not meet all of the conditions for utilization of the 100 air-mile radius log book exemption. This exemption enables RDS' drivers who stay within the 100 air-mile radius, but may occasionally take more than 12 hours to return to their work-reporting location, from having to complete a daily record of duty status (RODS) on those days. Instead the drivers will at all times use an electronic logging device system called Geotab to track all hours-of-service (HOS) data including real-time vehicle locations. FMCSA has analyzed the exemption application and the public comments and has determined that the exemption, subject to the terms and conditions imposed, is likely to achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved absent such exemption.

Rail Delivery Services, Inc. (RDS) Request for Exemption

RDS is, according to its Web site at, a “California-based intermodal trucking company moving freight, trailers and containers between railroads, ports, consignees and shippers, reliably and efficiently throughout California and adjacent states” (USDOT 520912). RDS believes that all of its drivers—approximately 100-120—would operate under the terms of the requested exemption from the 12-hour limitation in the log-book exception in 49 CFR 395.1(e)(1).

On a weekly basis, RDS expects that about 15% of its drivers will return to their work reporting location more than 12 hours after coming on duty, due to waiting times at rail yards and shipper locations, while still operating within the required 100 air-mile radius. The drivers who occasionally exceed the 12-hour limitation nearly always return to the terminal within 14 hours.

On average, less than 2% of RDS drivers exceed the daily 14-hour limit. If a CMV is operated beyond the 14th hour, the departments work diligently to determine whether the truck was over the HOS limits, or utilized for personal conveyance. In virtually all of these cases, owner-operators are using their vehicles for personal conveyance.

According to RDS, nearly all its drivers operate within a 70- to 80-mile radius of their home terminal. They are home every day and for the most part meet the exemption requirements of the 100 air-mile radius provision. Some of these drivers record their hours worked on an “exempt” log. Other drivers complete a grid log, even though they meet the 100 air-mile radius exemption. Both types of paper logs are time consuming for the drivers and the RDS Safety Department. For this reason, RDS has embarked on the use of system incorporating a vehicle recording device to accurately record all the drivers' activities, including on-duty time, driving time, and total hours for the day.

This electronic system allows for accuracy and real-time follow up. RDS believes that with this system it is improving the safety of the motoring public by ensuring that the drivers do not falsify their log books or operate when they are tired. Additionally, proactive measures have been implemented by RDS to improve highway safety. RDS states that the use of a daily log book or an “exempt” log does not enable the carrier to monitor and respond to these events in real-time. Violations are discovered 12 to 24 hours later. However, with the electronic tracking system, all departments see the events in real-time and can respond immediately.

RDS believes that the use of the electronic system, along with its increased focus on driver training and education, goes beyond compliance with the Federal regulations. The system has allowed and will continue to allow RDS to provide additional timely oversight of drivers and has improved, and will enable the company to enhance, safety and reduce fatigue.

Dates Effective

The exemption is applicable from November 14, 2017 through 11:59 p.m., November 14, 2022.

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