March 8, 2019: Railroad Representatives Petition FMCSA for HOS Exemption

R.J. Corman Railroad Services, Cranemasters Inc., and the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association have submitted a petition to FMCSA seeking a five year exemption from the Hours of Service rules regarding the maximum driving time for property carrying vehicles.
The exemption would apply to railroad employees and workers operating the haul equipment that are responding to unplanned events that will extend beyond normal working hours.
According to the petition, the applicants claim “A large number [of unplanned events occur] between midnight and 7:00 [a.m.], making it virtually impossible for the railroads to contact an official to request an emergency declaration before they request a contractor to respond to the unplanned event, and companies likely would not know if such an emergency declaration had been made before they respond to a call from a railroad. They believe that the exemption, if granted, would not pose a safety risk since the drivers drive relatively short distances on public roads to get to the site of an unplanned event and do not drive after completing work at a site until requisite rest is obtained ”  Furthermore, the applicants claim they will maintain an equivalent or greater level of safety through measures such as convoys of escort vehicles in the front and rear of responding trucks and training for drivers to recognize fatigue. Two-way radios will be installed in all vehicles, which supervisors will use to check in with responders every 30 or 45 minutes. Also, drivers will have at least one hour before mobilizing in which they can stretch and exercise to stay alert.
Interested parties may submit comments on the petition until April 8, 2019.

Railroad Representatives Petition FMCSA for HOS Exemption