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Understanding FMCSA Adverse Road Condition Exemption


This time of year, drivers can be caught off guard by sleet, snow, freezing rain and fog.  These conditions can wreak havoc on your trip plans.  A trip that might have taken you two hours on a regular day, may now take you four, causing you to struggle to find safe parking or reach your destination within your allowable driving hours.  Fortunately, the FMCSA has created an exemption that drivers may use for unforeseen weather delays.

According to FMCSA, “If unexpected adverse driving conditions slow you down, you may drive up to 2 extra hours to complete what could have been driven in normal conditions. This means you could drive for up to 13 hours, which is 2 hours more than allowed under normal conditions. Adverse driving conditions mean things that you did not know about when you started your run, like snow, fog, or a shut-down of traffic due to a crash. Adverse driving conditions do not include sit­uations that you should have known about, such as congested traffic during typical “rush hour” periods.

“Even though you may drive 2 extra hours under this exception, you must not drive after the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty.”

Adverse Driving Conditions 395.1(b)(1)

In case of any emergency, a driver may complete his/her run without being in violation of the provisions of the regulations in this part, if such run reasonably could have been completed absent the emergency.

If the following conditions apply, then you can drive for up to 2 additional hours ( 13 hours total, as long as you do not exceed your 14-hour rule. All Steps must be met- see step below.

1) You unexpectedly run into snow, sleet, fog or other bad weather or a highway covered with Snow or Ice or usual road or traffic condition

2)The person who dispatched your run was NOT and could not have been aware of those conditions

3) The run is one that you could have normally complete in 11 hours and

4) You are able to complete the (extended) run without exceeding the 14 or 70-hour limits

YOU CAN NOT use the adverse driving conditions exception for delays that YOU should have known about, such as congested traffic during rush hour.

When you use this exception, it’s a good idea to enter a note on your log indicting that you are using the exception (found in 395.1(b)(1) and why.


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