The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has denied a commercial vehicle driver’s request for exemption from many provisions of federal Hours of Service (HOS) regulations.
On July 18, 2023, the FMCSA announced that it would deny a petition from truck driver John Olier for exemption from certain hours of service (HOS) regulations including the 11-, 14-, and 70-hour rules with all “mandatory break” periods which would include the 10-hour and 30-minute break requirements.
Olier requested permanent relief from HOS for himself only.
Olier requested the HOS exemption from the FMCSA earlier this year and published the request in the Federal Register with a call for public comments on March 3.
Olier argued that current HOS rules “force him to drive outside of his body’s healthy circadian rhythm,” creating an unsafe situation for himself and other drivers.
From the FMCSA’s summary of Olier’s request:
“The applicant states that he has never had an accident or incident involving safety. He asserts that his prior military experience, which trained him to work with little or no sleep periods enables him to recognize the warning signs of fatigue and respond appropriately. He implies that this training combined with his extensive driving experience enable him to safely operate a CMV without complying with the HOS regulations. He further asserts that operating under various exemptions, such as the exemption for agricultural commodities, for more than 75% of his driving time has resulted in less stress, fewer disruptions to his schedule, improved health, and improved productivity.“
According to the FMCSA, the overwhelming majority of the public comments supported allowing Olier’s request.
“As a former US Air Force Member myself I think he does deserve the permanent exemption but i also think anyone who meets the record with a career as a professional driver with a clean slate such as myself since 1990 33 years clean and still going deserves this opportunity to work freely in a messed up world!” commented Richard Fuller.
In spite of the public support for the request, the FMCSA ultimately opted to deny the request for exemption because, “Mr. Olier failed to establish that he would likely maintain a level of safety equivalent to, or greater than, the level achieved without the exemption.”
Within the past year, several other truckers have made similar requests for relief from HOS. So far, the FMCSA has denied all of these requests.