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Fireworks Haulers Temporarily Exempt From Select HOS Regulations

On Friday, the FMCSA announced that the agency has granted a temporary HOS exemption to Illumination Fireworks, LLC and ACE Pyro, LLC.  

According to the FMCSA, drivers will not be allowed to drive after the 14th hour after coming on-duty.

The exemption will only apply to 50 drivers who are employed by Illumination Fireworks, LLC and ACE Pyro, LLC; those “in conduction with staging fireworks shows celebrating Independence Day.”

The exemption will be in effect from June 28-July 8, 2014.  “During this period, the CMV drivers employed by the applicants will be allowed to exclude off-duty and sleeper-berth time of any length from the calculation of the 14 hours. These drivers will not be allowed to drive after accumulating a total of 14 hours of on-duty time, following 10 consecutive hours off duty, and would continue to be subject to the 11-hour driving time limit, and the 60- and 70-hour on-duty limits. The Agency has determined that the terms and conditions of the limited 1-year exemptions will ensure a level of safety equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety achieved without the exemptions,” the FMCSA states.

Last year, the FMCSA granted a limited one-year HOS exemption to fireworks haulers. The exemption was issued to companies of the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA). 

In previous years, the FMCSA has granted the exemption to 48 APA-affiliated carriers.  The exemption only applies to the APA-affiliated carriers and runs from June 28 to July 8, 2014.

The exemption allows  3,200 drivers to exclude off-duty and sleeper-berth time from their 14-hour driving window, however, “These drivers would not be allowed to drive after accumulating a total of 14 hours of on-duty time, following 10 consecutive hours off duty, and would continue to be subject to the 11-hour driving time limit, and the 60- and 70-hour on-duty limits,” the notice states.

The APA began applying for the exemption in 2004.  APA drivers hold CDLs with Hazmat endorsements.

In the 2013 FMCSA notice, the FMCSA stated, “The APA states that it is seeking an HOS exemption for the 2013 and 2014 Independence Day periods because compliance with the current 14-hour rule in 49 CFR 395.3(a)(2) by its members would impose a substantial economic hardship on numerous cities, towns and municipalities, as well as its member-companies. To meet the demand for fireworks under the current HOS rules, APA member-companies state that they would be required to hire a second driver for most trips. The APA advises that the result would be a substantial increase in the cost of the fireworks shows—beyond the means of many of its members’ customers—and that many Americans would be denied this important component of the celebration of Independence Day.”

“FMCSA announces the granting of an exemption of 55 member- companies of the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) from FMCSA’s regulation prohibiting drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) from driving after the 14th hour after coming on duty. The FMCSA renews the exemption for 45 APA member-companies and grants 10 additional carriers coverage by the exemption, which is applicable during the periods June 28-July 8, 2013, and June 28-July 8, 2014, inclusive. The requested renewal of the exemption for one motor carrier is being denied. Additionally, the APA advised FMCSA of the removal from the original renewal application of two companies that are no longer in business or no longer members of the APA. The original application was for 58 carriers; two were removed by APA and one denied by FMCSA, leaving 55 carriers being granted the exemption. Drivers who operate these CMVs in conjunction with staging fireworks shows celebrating Independence Day will be allowed to exclude off-duty and sleeper-berth time of any length from the calculation of the 14 hours. These drivers will continue to be subject to a prohibition from driving after accumulating 14 hours on duty, the 11-hour driving time limit, and the 60- and 70- hour limits. FMCSA believes that with the terms and conditions in place, APA-member motor carriers will maintain a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety that would be obtained by complying with the regulation,” FMCSA said in a 2013 notice.