ATA Calls on FMCSA to Rescind its Hours of Service Oilfield Exception Guidance
On July 9, 2012, ATA filed comments with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) asking the agency to rescind its recently published guidance for which vehicles and drivers servicing oil and natural gas operations are and are not eligible to take advantage of the 24-hour restart and waiting time as off-duty time exceptions to the hours of service. That guidance states that only drivers of any truck that is solely dedicated to directly servicing the oil and natural gas industry can take advantage of the 24-hour restart to their weekly duty clocks. It further states that only vehicles that are ‘specially constructed’ to service the oil and natural gas industry and for which the drivers need training above and beyond CDL and CDL endorsement training to operate may take advantage of the waiting time as off-duty time exception. This guidance effectively barred sand and water trucks from utilizing the waiting time exception to the hours of service. Rather than take into account the ramifications of its actions on the oil and natural gas industry, FMCSA made this change effective on the date it was published in the Federal Register. ATA’s comments ask that FMCSA rescind the guidance, take comments and hold public meetings on any possible changes to its interpretation, and then issue proposed guidance for public comment. ATA further asks that FMCSA extend the comment period to the docket by another 30 days.