NPGA Needs Your Opinion on FMCSA Special Exemption Request
Bottom Line: NPGA seeks your input to direct a new advocacy effort that could provide the propane industry predictable flexibility during winter heating season.
Share your opinion on NPGA potentially requesting a Special Exemption from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) 34-hour restart provision here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/34hrRestart. The survey deadline has been extended to Friday, March 25.
During the NPGA Winter Board of Directors sessions, there was considerable discussion on the FMCSA regional Emergency Declaration that waived hours of service requirements in response to winter demand and a reduction in workforce due to COVID-19 infections or exposures. An idea stemming from those discussions was the potential value of a Special Exemption from FMCSA, which is an automatic waiver of specific regulations under particular circumstances for a period of five years.
NPGA proposes requesting a Special Exemption from the 60/70-hour limit over 7/8 days that requires a 34-hour restart. The special exemption would be during winter heating season (October 1 – March 31) for a period of five years. The special exemption request would keep the maximum daily on-duty and driving limits, but enable drivers to operate without the 60/70-hour weekly limit, if needed. To support this request, NPGA must provide FMCSA with research demonstrating that granting the Special Exemption would not reduce the level of safety.
If successful in obtaining a Special Exemption, it may make it more difficult for NPGA to argue for regional Emergency Declarations by FMCSA that waive the hours-of-service requirements in response to specific winter weather events. If NPGA obtains a Special Exemption, it would be limited in scope to the transportation of propane – bobtail or transport – by any company during the specified period. Companies would not be obligated to utilize the Special Exemption.
Questions? Contact NPGA Vice President, Regulatory & Industry Affairs Sarah Reboli.
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