New HOS regulations will be enforced on July 1, 2013. Last week, the FMCSA received an exemption request from the Department of Energy (DOE).
The request was published in the FMCSA’s Federal Register. The DOE has requested that contracted carriers who haul security-sensitive radioactive materials be excluded from some of the new requirements for drivers who transport: transuranic waste, spent nuclear fuel and radioactive sources classified as category 1 and 2 by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The DOE has requested select carriers be exempt from the regulation pertaining to rest breaks, “to allow contract driver-employees transporting security-sensitive radioactive materials to be treated the same as drivers transporting explosives. as provided in § 395.1(q). Section 395.1(q) states that operators of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) carrying Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 explosives subject to the requirement for a minimum 30-minute rest break in § 395.3(a)(3)(ii) may use 30 minutes or more of “attendance time” to meet the requirement for a rest break. Compliance with § 395.3(a)(3) is required by July 1, 2013.”
DOE states that shipments of security-sensitive radioactive materials are transported by team drivers to expedite delivery in a safe and secure manner. The register states that granting the exemption would allow team drivers to plan and manage their rest periods more efficiently.
DOE states that it has instituted several technical and administrative controls to ensure the effective use of driver on-duty and rest-break time, which would remain in effect under the requested exemption. They include the following:
- Real-time tracking and monitoring of transuranic waste and security-sensitive shipments using DOE’s satellite-based systems.
- Use of electronic on-board recorders on trucks, which is contractually required for motor carriers involved in the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant to ensure compliance with driver HOS rules.
- Continuous monitoring of the safety performance of DOE-qualified motor carriers using the FMCSA Compliance Safety Accountability Program’s Safety Measurement System, and DOE’s Motor Carrier Evaluation Program.
DOE estimates that 53 drivers would currently be eligible for the exemption, if granted. The proposed exemption would be effective from July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2015.