The exemption would cover about 68,000 drivers, according to the association.

National Ready Mixed Concrete Association Seeking 30-Minute Exemption

FMCSA is taking comments until Sept. 19 on the association's request, which would exempt about 68,000 drivers who spend less than half of their on-duty time actually driving.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is taking comments on the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association's application for an exemption from the hours of service 30-minute rest break recently upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. The association wants all of its 68,000 drivers to be exempted. Comments are due by Sept. 19.

"Due to the nature of their operation, NRMCA believes that compliance with the 30-minute rest break rule is extremely difficult due to the numerous variables associated with delivery (e.g., weather, customer readiness, traffic) and becomes even more problematic and burdensome during periods of peak demand at construction sites," the notice states.

To submit a comment, use Docket number FMCSA-2013-0317 at www.regulations.gov.

FMCSA can grant exemptions, and it must publish a notice of each exemption request in the Federal Register. Perhaps this will be the opening of the floodgates after the federal court upheld most of the latest HOS regulation on Aug. 2. The regulation includes a new provision requiring drivers to take a rest break during the work day under certain circumstances. Drivers may drive a commercial motor vehicle only if eight hours or less have passed since the end of the driver's last off-duty or sleeper-berth period of at least 30 minutes. FMCSA did not specify when drivers must take the 30-minute break, but the rule requires that they wait no longer than eight hours after the last off-duty or sleeper-berth period of that length or longer to take the break. Drivers who already take shorter breaks during the work day could comply with the rule by taking one of the shorter breaks and extending it to 30 minutes. The new requirement took effect on July 1, 2013, the notice states.

The association, founded in 1930, stated most of its 68,000 drivers spend less than half of their on-duty time actually driving a truck. Most operate eight hours per day, with 10 hours or more per day being a common schedule during the busy season. A typical driver moves four loads per day, each of roughly two hours round-trip, driving an average of only 14 miles one-way away from the ready-mixed concrete plant. The rest of the driver's "duty day" is spent at the plant waiting to be dispatched, at the job site waiting for the contractor to receive the concrete, unloading concrete, and performing various other administrative duties.

It claims the 30-minute rest break jeopardizes the integrity of the industry's delivered product and could cause concrete companies thousands of dollars in additional costs.

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