The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has amended its April 9, 2018 Notice of Final Disposition granting a limited exemption to the National Tank Truck Carriers, Inc (NTTC) and the Massachusetts Motor Transport Association Inc (MMTA) from the 30-minute rest break requirement for drivers transporting specified fuels. The exemption was amended to include propane gas as a specified fuel.
Propane was not on the list of specified fuels initially. The National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) requested the addition. The exemption is effective through April 10, 2023.
NTTC and MMTA applied for an exemption from the 30-minute rest break provision of the hours of service (HOS) rules (49 CFR part 395) on behalf of motor carriers and drivers operating tank trucks to transport certain petroleum-based products in interstate commerce. The tank trucks are normally loaded with products in the morning, and deliver the products to three or more service stations during the remainder of the duty day.
Most of the estimated 38,000 vehicles engaged in such transportation each day qualify for the 100 air-mile radius exception, but circumstances beyond the control of the motor carrier and driver occasionally cause delays in the delivery schedule.
Under Hours of Service regulations, if a driver cannot complete his or her duty day within the 12-hour period specified by the 100 air-mile radius exception, he or she must at the first opportunity take a 30-minute rest break.
This is problematic, however, for tank truck drivers delivering hazardous materials. For instance, as a security measure, a motor carrier may require that a tank truck transporting certain fuels be attended by the driver when the vehicle is stopped, and a driver attending a CMV is not off duty as required by the rest-break rule. It is also difficult to find safe and secure parking for tank trucks on such short notice.