Good news for hazmat haulers: break exemption extended to 2020

Drivers still need to carry a copy of the exemption

Posted November 24, 2016

Certain drivers transporting hazardous materials will be able to continue logging their rest breaks as “on duty” until at least August 2020.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended a 2015 exemption that allows drivers to attend to their security-sensitive cargo during their mandatory 30-minute breaks.

The exemption only applies to drivers who transport security-sensitive hazardous materials requiring security plans under regulations of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. These plans normally require drivers to closely monitor their cargo while the vehicle is stopped, which the FMCSA considers to be an “on-duty” activity.

Truck drivers normally must be off duty for their rest breaks, but the FMCSA is allowing these drivers to remain on duty if the security plan requires it.

Without the exemption, drivers were forced to choose between complying with the security plan and remaining on duty or complying with the break requirement and going off duty.

All other drivers transporting hazardous materials are still required to go off duty for their rest breaks, although certain drivers transporting explosives or operating under contract with the Department of Energy or Department of Defense may be eligible for other exemptions.

The original exemption, issued on August 21, 2015, was not due to expire until August 21, 2017, but the FMCSA extended the exemption to August 20, 2020, based on new authority from Congress.


The exemption is limited to drivers actively transporting loads requiring placarding under 49 CFR Part 172, Subpart F, or select agents and toxins identified in Sec. 172.800(b)(13) that do not require placarding, and who have filed security plans requiring constant attendance in accordance with sections 172.800-172.804.

The exemption is also limited to motor carriers that have a “satisfactory” safety rating or that are unrated.

Drivers using the exemption need to carry a copy of the exemption document and present it to law enforcement upon request.

Finally, motor carriers have to notify the FMCSA by email within five business days if a driver has a recordable accident while using the exemption.

Hazardous Materials Compliance PocketbookJ. J. Keller's Hazardous Materials Compliance Pocketbook gives your drivers fast access to the current info they need to check placards, labels, markings and shipping papers for compliance with hazardous materials regulations.


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