The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is renewing a company’s hours of service exemption that allows its drivers to work up to 16 hours a day after a break of at least eight hours.
FMCSA renewal notice is expected to be published in the Federal Register on Thursday, September 30.
In 2016, Cleveland-Cliffs Steel – which previously operated as ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor – received a five-year exemption for its drivers hauling coils of steel from part of the company’s Chicago plant, in Indiana, to another. The FMCSA granted a five-year exemption, which expired on September 23.
In August, Cleveland-Cliffs Steel’s renewal application was released.
“Due to the nature of our operations, driving is a very small part of our employees’ workday,” the company said in its letter requesting the exemption. “In fact, driving these utility motor vehicles is only 10% of their workday each day. In addition, none of these employees work more than 16 hours per day, 16 hours being the exception and not the rule.
The company said it had not had any accidents due to the exemption in the past five years.
“The FMCSA stresses that the renewal of exemptions would continue under extremely tight conditions,” the agency wrote. “An exemption allows drivers to work up to 16 consecutive hours during a shift and return to work with at least eight hours off if necessary. “
The agency noted that the exemption is comparable to hours-of-service regulations which allow some short-haul drivers a 16-hour driving window once a week and other non-CDL short-haul drivers two. service periods of 16 hours per week as long as long as certain conditions are met.
“The other exemption is limited to the company’s coil carriers as described in its application,” wrote the FMCSA. “The exemption allows commercial motor vehicles that do not meet parts and accessories requirements… Commercial vehicles operated by Cleveland-Cliffs drivers will be exposed to other vehicles for very short periods of time.
The renewal of the exemption went into effect on September 23 and is expected to last for another five years. LL