The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that it would grant the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) an Hours of Service (HOS) exemption exclusively to its members that will eliminate the need for them to use electronic logging devices (ELDs) as otherwise is required under new rules. NWRA first made this request in November 2018.
“This is a historic win for our members in the waste and recycling industry,” said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith in a statement. “While NWRA recognizes the safety benefits that ELDs present for other sectors, these devices are actually counterproductive for our industry and increase risks associated with distracted driving due to the frequency that waste and recycling industry drivers must interact with them. We are pleased that FMCSA agreed with our petition for an exemption for the members of our association.”
Under the exemption, the time limit for waste and recycling collection drivers to return to their work reporting location is increased from 12 hours to 14 hours. The daily driving limit remains at 11 hours.
According to the Notice of Final Disposition, which will be published in the Federal Register on November 21, FMCSA announced its decision to grant NWRA’s request for exemption from the requirement that short-haul drivers utilizing the records of duty status exception return to their normal work reporting location within 12 hours after coming on duty.
“The exemption enables all NWRA members’ short-haul commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers in the waste and recycling industry to return to their work reporting location within 14 hours (instead of the current 12 hours) without losing their short-haul status,” noted FMCSA. “FMCSA has analyzed the exemption application and the public comments and has determined that the exemption, subject to the terms and conditions imposed, will achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved absent such exemption.”
FMCSA granted Waste Management’s request for an ELD exemption on October 25, 2018, citing the ready-mix concrete and asphalt pavement industries due to the waste and recycling industry’s similarities with them. Other NWRA members have since filed requests with FMCSA for the same exemption. Granting this exemption to NWRA members brings consistent rulemaking across the association’s membership, according to NWRA.
“It is estimated that the ELD requirement would have cost our members $116.7 million over two years,” said Jim Riley, NWRA chief counsel and senior vice president for government affairs, in a statement. “That does not include fines levied on drivers and carriers for exceeding the daily 11-hour driving limit due to ELD technology not being able to accurately record all the on-duty but non-driving tasks drivers perform each day. This cost savings will enable our members to grow their businesses and create more good-paying jobs.”
FMCSA has set the following terms and conditions for the exemption:
- Drivers for member companies of NWRA must have a copy of this notice or equivalent signed FMCSA exemption document in their possession while operating under the terms of the exemption. The exemption document must be presented to law enforcement officials upon request.
- Drivers for NWRA member companies must return to the work reporting location and be released from work within 14 consecutive hours.
- NWRA member companies must maintain accurate time records concerning the time the driver reports for work each day, the total number of hours the driver is on duty each day and the time the driver is released from duty each day.
NWRA is only the third association to receive a year-round exemption. FMCSA has previously granted this exemption to the American Concrete Pumping Association and the National Asphalt Pavement Association. The exemption’s effective date is upon its publication in the Federal Register and is good for five years.
FMCSA also announced its decision to grant Kimble Recycling & Disposal, Inc.’s request for an exemption from the 12-hour limit of the HOS short-haul exception, as well as its decision to deny North Shore Environmental Construction, Inc.’s application for exemption from the 14-hour rule of the HOS regulations for drivers responding to actual and potential environmental emergencies.
Regarding North Shore’s exemption request, FMCSA said it analyzed the exemption application and the public comments and “determined that the applicant will not achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved absent such exemption.”