In light of increased oil and gas drilling, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ("FMCSA") has proposed revisiting hours-of-service guidance for oilfield carriers. The FMCSA has traditionally granted two HOS exceptions to oilfield haulers.
One exception grants oilfield haulers a 24-hour restart after 70 hours of work in eight days. This applies to drivers who exclusively haul oil and gas equipment, such as pipe, as well as drivers who serve field operations. The second exception provides that specially trained drivers of vehicles specific to oil wells do not have to include waiting time in their on-duty time.
The FMCSA intends to clarify these exceptions. Specifically, the 24-hour restart would apply to carriers that provide direct support to oil and gas well sites, including hauling water used in the fracking process, and hauling waste away from the site. The waiting time exception would apply only to drivers of equipment that is specially built for well service, and who have been trained in the operation of that equipment.
Drivers who haul supplies, equipment and materials such as sand and water would not be eligible for the waiting time exception, even if their trucks have been somewhat modified or if they have extra training.
The FMCSA will release the proposed guidance one June 5, 2012 in the Federal Register and comments will be due in August.