On June 30, 2013, the transportation industry was handed new requirements from the FMCSA stating that a 30-minute break minimum was required after 8 hours of driving. It quickly became apparent that the entire heavy haul industry was put in a serious conundrum. We are not strangers to adjusting to new guidelines while continuing to enforce a high level of safety of our drivers and to the general motoring public, but this was proving to be a greater risk than reward.
Therefore, a request for an exemption was initiated to illustrate and determine how this change, although increasing safety risks to a particluar sector of the industry, put another at extreme risk. The exemption was recently passed (almost exactly 2 years after being introduced) for oversize and overweight load carriers hauling permitted cargo with the help of many industry representatives, including Jason Wolterman, the HR Safety and Compliance Manager at Perkins STC, the Specialized Carrier & Rigging Association (SC&RA), and the American Trucking Associate (ATA).
Recently, American Crane and Transport magazine (ACT) featured us in an article from their August 2015 issue regardingthe exemption to the Hours of Services rules. We were pleased to participate in this initiative as we enjoy working with state and government authorities to improve the industry's efficiencies and areas for economic growth. The cost and complications of this rule were not the priority when applying for the exemption, although equally as important.
It was Safety. It is often a word claimed to be of great focus, but often the practice or implementation is not practical. Many people have been hurt in the name of safety and in our industry hundreds of people are hurt and even killed because of it each year. While rules and regulations may increase safety in one particular area, it can, in return, expose different areas of risk and danger to varying degrees. This has became a focus at Perkins STC, to educate others on the bigger picture, and we needed to act quickly.
Even with the best route and parking location planning, permitted oversized loads can't just stop everything without compromising safety. Imagine having to park a 17-foot tall tank with multiple third party support vehicles in a heavy traffic area for a minimum of 30 minutes. This is a huge safety risk, not only to the general public, but to our staff and crews as well. Often times, there are upwards of 8 people travelling with the load at any given time, including equipment operators, escort/pilot car divers, patrol, utility companies, and/or bucket trucks.
The industry's goal is to maintain a high level of safety in various circumstance and to uphold the regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA). This exmption allows that and is valid until June 18th, 2017, where it will be reviewed again.
The exmeption must be printed and with the driver at all times, in case of inspection or suspected violation. The exemption is available here: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/notices/2015-15018
Click on either picture above or here to read the full article from ACT Magazine's August 2015 Issue.