An exemption request from the American Trucking Associations to allow drivers to exclude detention time at a natural gas or oil well site from their total 14 on-duty hours has been denied by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
ATA asked FMCSA in May 2014 for a limited two-year exemption for drivers who exclusively service oil and natural gas extraction sites and “have the opportunity to obtain rest while waiting at such sites.” The trucking lobbyist added that “trucks with sleeper berths” and “on-site bunking or resting facilities” would satisfy the “rest opportunity” standard.
FMCSA said in its denial that ATA didn’t demonstrate how the exemption would achieve a level of safety equal or greater than the safety without the exemption. The agency added the current waiting time exemption doesn’t include a limit and “ATA’s request would extend this potentially risky option” to more oil and natural gas workers.
A total of 37 comments were received on the exemption request, according to the FMCSA, with 21 commenters supporting the request and 11 commenters opposed it, including the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.