I came across a matter with a client that highlights the confusion for specialty motor carriers operating commercial motor vehicles in the trucking marketplace. Specifically, this client was having significant issues complying with hours of service based on the type of vehicles deployed.
This client was operating property-carrying commercial motor vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of less than 26,001 pounds.
Therefore, drivers operating this class of property-carrying commercial motor vehicle do not require a commercial motor vehicle license under §395(2). Consequently, their drivers were encouraged to take advantage of the ‘Non-CDL Short-Haul Exception 150 Mile Short-Haul Exception’.
This exception among other privileges, allows drivers to extend their 14-hour driving window to 16 hours on 2 days in a 7-consecutive-day period, or after any 34-hour restart. This exception also does not require drivers to keep a logbook incidentally.
The challenge of course, as always, is the debate that occasionally occurs at roadside with the Inspector, when DOT do not believe what a driver is trying to explain to them. Therefore, my suggestion to the client was to instruct drivers to have a blank supply of paper logs ready to be filled out and/or already filled out for the day in question and the previous 7 days.
I also recommended that the client print the links I shared below, put copies in all of their vehicles for reference with their drivers. It is equally important that they raise their awareness of these exceptions with their drivers so that they know what to say to an Inspector if/when they are stopped.
The FMCSA also does not enforce the 30-minute rest break provision against any driver who qualifies for this short-haul exception, in case you were wondering.
Their drivers were encouraged to use this ‘Non-CDL Short-Haul Exception 150 Mile Short-Haul Exception’ in the following circumstances:
- Drive a truck that is a “commercial motor vehicle” but does not require a CDL, and
- Work within a 150 air-mile radius of their normal work reporting location and return there each day.
As the client explained to me, their operation is special in that their drivers would travel to a location that may, or may not be within the 150 air-mile radius, and then subsequently remain at that location for an extended period.
For clarity purposes, I advised the client you that on those days where their driver has in fact gone beyond this 150 air-mile radius, the driver cannot use this ‘Non-CDL Short-Haul Exception 150 Mile Short-Haul Exception’. Therefore, the driver must have an hours-of-service log surrendered, or ELD if not exempt from the rulemaking as described below for the day in question and the previous seven days.
Moving forward, on those days where the driver was now reporting to, leaving from and returning to a hotel every day, for the purposes of the normal work location becomes the hotel. Therefore, provided the driver complied with all of the 150 air-mile radius requirements described below, the driver would not be required to complete an hours-of-service log until he/she was dispatched to return to their principal place of business. When returning home, the driver must, unless otherwise exempt for the day in question and the previous seven days.
As a further FYI, since many motor carriers are not aware of this fact, in this ‘Non-CDL Short-Haul Exception 150 Mile Short-Haul Exception’ to the hours-of-service regulations, you see the term “air miles.” This is a different measurement of a mile than what is used for statute miles on a roadmap. An air mile is longer than a statute mile. There are 6,076 feet in an air mile and 5,280 feet in a statute mile. Therefore, a 150 air-mile radius from their work reporting location can be figured as 172.6 statute miles (277.8 km) in case you were wondering.
If their drivers met all of the criteria below, they could take advantage of this ‘Non-CDL Short-Haul Exception 150 Mile Short-Haul Exception’. Specifically, the drivers must:
- Not drive for more than 11 hours following 10 consecutive hours off duty;
- Not drive past the 14th hour after coming on duty 5 days in any period of 7 consecutive days; and
- Not drive past the 16th hour after coming on duty 2 days in any period of 7 consecutive days.
- Not drive after being on duty 60 hours in any 7 consecutive days or 70 hours in any 8 consecutive days (unless the driver took 34 consecutive hours off to restart a 7/8-day period that meets the conditions listed above).
Another very important point to keep in mind under this exception is that even though a driver may not be required to keep a log book, the motor carrier is required to keep accurate and true time records for their driver going back 6 months to show the:
1) Time the driver reports for duty each day;
2) Total number of hours the driver is on duty each day;
3) Time the driver is released from duty each day; and
4) Total time for the preceding 7 days in accordance with Section 395.8(j)(2) for drivers used for the first time or intermittently.
I then encouraged the client to continue with their current ELD solution since it meets Part 395 requirements to maintain such records.
In addition, if their drivers are operating under this ‘Non-CDL Short-Haul Exception 150 Mile Short-Haul Exception’, they are not eligible for the 100 air-mile radius exception, 16-hour short-haul exception, or the split sleeper-berth provision.
This regulation is found in Section 395.1(e)(2).
The next very important point that I stressed with the client is that the definition of a commercial motor vehicle, as it is found in different regulations under 49 CFR. As you can appreciate, this becomes very confusing for motor carriers if they are not aware of the differences.
Under part 383(5), which is the regulation describing ‘COMMERCIAL DRIVER’S LICENSE STANDARDS; REQUIREMENTS AND PENALTIES’, and what is specifically cited as the rule for the ‘Non-CDL Short-Haul Exception 150 Mile Short-Haul Exception’.
Specifically a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) means a motor vehicle or combination of motor vehicles used in commerce to transport passengers or property if the motor vehicle is a:
(1) Combination Vehicle (Group A)—having a gross combination weight rating or gross combination weight of 11,794 kilograms or more (26,001 pounds or more), whichever is greater, inclusive of a towed unit(s) with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of more than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds), whichever is greater; or
(2) Heavy Straight Vehicle (Group B)—having a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of 11,794 or more kilograms (26,001 pounds or more), whichever is greater; or
(3) Small Vehicle (Group C) that does not meet Group A or B requirements but that either—
(i) Is designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver; or
(ii) Is of any size and is used in the transportation of hazardous materials as defined in this section.
According to our commercial motor vehicle is defined differently in part 390 of 49 CFR ‘PART 390—FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY REGULATIONS; GENERAL’ . https://bit.ly/2L0TFQp
In this regulation, a commercial motor vehicle means any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used on a highway in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property when the vehicle—
(1) Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 4,536 kg (10,001 pounds) or more, whichever is greater; or
(2) Is designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation; or
(3) Is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation; or
(4) Is used in transporting material found by the Secretary of Transportation to be hazardous under 49 U.S.C. 5103 and transported in a quantity requiring placarding under regulations prescribed by the Secretary under 49 CFR, subtitle B, chapter I, subchapter C.
FYI, FMCSA uses the more restrictive Part 390 definition, and not the Part 383 definition of a commercial motor vehicle to determine if a motor carrier and their drivers must follow the hours-of-service regulations.
What this means for this client is that their driver unless otherwise exempt, must comply with the hours of service regulation by virtue of the fact that they indicated that their vehicles have a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight higher than 10,001 pounds, whichever is greater.
Finally, now that the ELD rulemaking is in place effective December 18, 2017, the client could possibly be exempt from the ELD rulemaking, but will still require that their drivers complete paper logs in compliance with the hours of service regulations.
- Drivers using paper RODS no more than 8 days out of every 30-day period. (Very likely to be applicable!)
- Driveaway-towaway drivers who transport empty vehicles intended for sale, lease, or repair, as long as the vehicle they are driving is part of the Shipment. (Not applicable)
- Drivers of vehicles manufactured before model year 2000. (May be applicable).
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