Today, the FMCSA announced in the agency’s Federal Register that it has approved a request from the Department of Defense for an exemption to the 30-minute break rule.

The Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC) manages the CMV contracts for the Department of Defense. The SDDC contracts with carriers to provide transport for weapons, munitions and sensitive and classified cargo.

“The exemption enables SDDC’s contract motor carriers and their employee-drivers engaged in the transportation of weapons, munitions, and sensitive/classified cargo to have the same regulatory flexibility that 49 CFR 395.1(q) provides for drivers transporting explosives. The exempted drivers are allowed 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 FMCSA stated.

In July, the FMCSA granted the SDCC a 90-day waiver for the exemption, which expired on October 22, 2013.

The newest exemption went into effect at 12:01 a.m., on October 22, 2013 and will continue until 11:59 p.m., on October 21, 2015.

The SDDC requested a an exemption to the 30-minute break rule “to allow SDDC-contracted drivers providing dual driver-protected services to be treated the same as drivers transporting explosives.”

According to the FMCSA:

SDDC states that it requires continuous attendance and surveillance of such shipments until they reach their final destination. SDDC states that it has instituted several technical and administrative controls to ensure the efficient transportation of cargo requiring protective services, controls that would remain in effect under the requested exemption. They include the following:

  • Conducting review of carrier compliance requirements and procedures for moving hazardous cargo.
  • Evaluating carrier authority to operate on U.S. roadways.
  • Evaluating carrier compliance with FMCSA’s Compliance Safety Accountability program and Safety Measurement System standards.
  • Providing over-the-road vehicle surveillance.
  • Inspecting carrier facilities and corporate headquarters for compliance with DOD and DOT standards.

Terms of the exemption:

1. Drivers authorized by SDDC to utilize this exemption 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.

2. All 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.

3. All motor carriers operating under this exemption must have Safety Measurement System (SMS) scores below FMCSA’s intervention thresholds, as displayed at http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/sms/.

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