On March 27, 2015, the FMCSA announced the agency has granted a partial HOS exemption to McKee Foods Transportation, LLC (MFT).
MFT petitioned the FMCSA to allow its team drivers to be exempt from HOS rules pertaining to the user of a sleeper berth.
“Current HOS rules require that all SB rest regimens include, in part, the use of an SB for at least 8 hours–combined with a separate period of at least 2 hours, either in the SB, off-duty or some combination of both–to gain the equivalent of at least 10 consecutive hours off duty,” the FMCSA Federal Register states.
The exemption will allow MFT’s team drivers to take 10 consecutive hours off duty by splitting the sleeper berth time into two periods equaling 10 hours, providing neither of the two periods is less than 3 hours.
MFT is a private carrier that hauls snack foods distributed under the Little Debbie, Sunbelt and Drake’s brands.
MFT operates in 48 states and parts of Canada.
Approximately 650 drivers are employed by MFT. According the the FMCSA’s Federal Register, MFT’s ‘average driver’ is on duty approximately 35-45 hours per week, “with a majority of the on-duty time split between driving and unloading the trailer.”
The average route has 6 stops and is approximately 1,000 miles round trip. Teams usually haul two trailer loads per week, with a home time in between trips. The teams operate on a “routine weekly cycle.”
“Many of MFT’s drivers are off duty at least 48 consecutive hours every week while many others are off duty at least 72 consecutive hours. MFT’s tractors are equipped with double-bunk sleepers in the event both drivers need or want to rest at the same time,” the Federal Register states.
The exemption went into effect on March 27, 2015 and will expire on March 27, 2016.
From the FMCSA Federal Register:
MFT identified some countermeasures it would take to maintain safe operations if the exemption is granted. The safeguards include, but are not limited to:
• Every week, all transportation operations shut down one hour prior to sundown on Friday until one hour after sundown on Saturday, resulting in an automatic minimum 26 hour off-duty home time for all drivers in addition to two or three days home time during the week;
• All tractors are equipped with speed limiters;
• Drivers use AOBRDs to track their duty time and HOS compliance;
• Drive time is reduced from 11 hours to 10 hours. Team drivers are limited to 10 hours of driving prior to completing their required 10 hours total SB.
• Behavior-based event data is monitored from the enhanced AOBRDs to improve safety measures already in place to help reduce the probability of accidents on the road.