Because if its unique nature, and local logging rules, the Oregon timber industry received an exception from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from typical rules. The new exception will be allowed from March 18 this year to the same date in 2020. The FMCSA ensures that this rule exception will not compromise safety in any way.
The new rule relaxes existing rest and break time requirements. Under existing rules, truck drivers are required to take at least a 30-minute break after driving consecutively for eight hours. This means that the driver has to be off duty and cannot drive again until after a break. But this rule does not work with the Oregon timber industry. But with the rule exception comes the caveat that a driver be off duty after 12 hours of driving.
This rule was needed because of local, Oregon rules dealing with logging. The logging industry in Oregon is not allowed to transport logs during certain hours of the day because of a perceived danger of causing fires. As a result, the work would not get done without the new rule exception, and thankfully an exception was granted.
The FMCSA is authorized to make rules changes and exceptions under its authority in 49 U.S.C. 31136(e). According to the provisions of this authority, before granting an exception, the agency must publish the exception request for public comment, and then conduct safety analysis as to whether the exception should be granted or not.
Before an exception can be granted, there are several determinations the agency must first make. For example, the proposed exception must provide at least the same amount of safety, or increase the safety already ensured by the existing rules. If all the requirements are met, then the agency can renew the rule in following years.
In this case, it was the Oregon Trucking Association that made the rule request. This shows the importance to the trucking industry of trade associations, and other organizations that can work with this and other federal agencies to ensure the industry stays strong. If this association had not filed for this exception, a federal rule would have hampered and harmed an important industry to the state of Oregon.
Needless to say, the transportation industry is a complex one. Federal rules dealing with safety, liability, and compliance are the king in the industry. But even with federal dominance, state rules and regulations also have a big impact on how a trucking company goes about its business. Understanding this process and guiding your transportation company through the state and federal rules is key to your company’s success.
At Anderson and Yamada, P.C., our firm has decades of experience in the transportation industry, guiding companies through state and federal laws and regulations. Whether your company needs representations in a Carmack Amendment claim, or in front of the FMCSA, we are here for you. Contact us and so we can begin helping your company today.