In today’s FMCSA Federal Register, the FMCSA announced the Oregon Trucking Association (OTA) has applied for an exemption from the 30-minute rest break for motor carriers who transport timber from Oregon forests during the periods when fire restrictions limit their hours of operation.
According to the Federal Register, the OTA states that lumber mills depend on as specific volume of logs in order to stay in business and that environmental restrictions limit the amount of timber that can be harvested.
“For example, OTA states that at the time of its application (August 26, 2013), a Level III fire safety restriction barred CMVs from Oregon forestlands at 1:00 p.m. daily. OTA asserts that fire-safety restrictions are often in place from July to late October each year. If logging operators have to leave the forest lands by 1:00 p.m. during fire restrictions, they need all available time prior to 1:00 p.m. as on-duty time, without a rest break,” the Federal Register states.
OTA asserts that the new 30-minute break requirement makes it impossible for log trucks to provide a sufficient volume of logs to the mills when operations are time-limited by fire restrictions.
OTA states that those who are eligible for he exemption will reduce their work day from 14 to 12 hours in exchange for the 30-minute break exemption.
OTA states that during these periods of limited operations, its members would achieve the same level of safety with this exemption in place as they would achieve if required to observe the rest-break requirement.
FMCSA requests public comment on the application for exemption. Comments must be received on or before January 9, 2014.