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Short-Haul Exceptions to the Rule

September 2016, Work Truck - Department

by Kathy Close, J.J. Keller

Those who travel short distances with their commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) often wonder if they are subject to the same Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) as over-the-road trucking companies.

The majority of the safety regulations and subsequent recordkeeping are the same for all interstate carriers. This includes Driver Qualification files, USDOT markings, cargo securement, insurance, equipment specifications, vehicle inspection and maintenance, and so forth.

But, a driver is not required to create a record of duty status (log) if the criteria in Section 395.1(e) are met for one of two “short-haul exceptions.” Note that a driver using either exception is still subject to the 10-hour off-duty rule, the 11-hour driving rule, and the 60/70-hour limits. And, the crossing of state lines has no bearing on whether a log must be completed.

100-Air-Mile Radius Exception

For a property-carrying driver to qualify for the short-haul exception in Section 395.1(e)(1), he or she must operate within a 100 air-mile radius (115.08 statute miles) of the normal work reporting location, return to the location, and be released from work within 12 consecutive hours. This specific exception applies to all CMVs, not just those requiring commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs).

150-Air-Mile Radius Exception

Section 395.1(e)(2) is an exception for property-carrying drivers that operate CMVs that do not require a CDL. To qualify, the driver must operate within a 150 air-mile radius (172.6 statute miles) of the normal work reporting location, and return to the normal work reporting location at the end of each duty tour.

In addition, the driver is prohibited from driving after the 14th hour after coming on duty on five days of any period of seven consecutive days, or after the 16th hour after coming on duty on two days of any period of seven consecutive days.

Proper Recordkeeping

The motor carrier must maintain a specific time record on the driver when utilizing either short-haul exception. It must show:

  • The time the driver reports for duty each day.
  • The time the driver is released from duty each day.
  • The total number of hours on duty each day.
  • Total time on duty for the preceding seven days for drivers used for the first time or intermittently.

This record is kept for six months, just as any other hours-of-service document. Neither exception requires the motor carrier to maintain time records for the driver’s days off.

On the Road

A driver is not expected to carry proof of either exception while operating the CMV. To avoid confusion during roadside inspections, the driver needs to explain the lack of daily logs to enforcement. The driver should simply state which exception he or she is claiming.

Added Bonus Exception

For either short-haul provision, the driver is excepted from the requirement in Section 395.3(a)(3)(ii) to take a 30-minute break every eight hours.

16-Hour Short-Haul Exception

Another short-haul exception is provided in Section 395.1(o). As long as a driver returns to the normal work location for his or her last five duty tours, the exception allows the driver to extend the 14-hour period by two hours. This can be done once per week or once since the driver’s last 34-hour restart. A driver taking advantage of a short-haul exception — that normally does not complete logs — must fill one out on the days he or she uses the 16-hour exception. This is due to the fact the driver exceeds the 12-hour limitation needed to make use of the either exception.


About the Author
Kathy Close is a transportation editor at J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. Her areas of expertise include transportation security, DOT drug and alcohol testing, and driver qualification. For more information, contact [email protected]


  1. 1. I have a question [ March 10, 2017 @ 06:56AM ]

    A local police officer tried to tell me that I needed a graph log when I was within 100 air miles with an oversize/overweight crane. The operator started at 12pm at our yard. We left to go retrieve the equipment from NJ and returned with the equipment in PA at about 5pm. However, on our way back an officer told us he could give us a ticket for not filling out a graph log because we participated in interatate commerce. I explained we cannot charge for the retrieval of the crane so it is not commerce. He insisted that it is furthering of commerce so we should have to fill out a long form graph log but I cannot find where it says this in any regulations. Please advise.

  2. 2. Alan [ August 03, 2017 @ 05:28AM ]

    Does the 34-hour reset give me a new 16-hour exemption if I laid over on my last tour of duty before my 34-hour reset

  3. 3. Alan [ August 03, 2017 @ 05:30AM ]

    Does the 34-hour restart reset the 16-hour exemption if I laid over on my last tour of Duty before the 34-hour reset

  4. 4. Peter Mortensen [ September 19, 2017 @ 11:54AM ]

    I have a couple of questions on the NON-CDL short haul exemption. Is the 150 air miles one way or round trip? The 16 hour exemption my company is using the 14 hour rule are we allowed to use this or not? We are a small company that provides power equipment to communication companies like Verizon Wireless.

  5. 5. JJ Keller [ September 22, 2017 @ 11:38AM ]

    #1 - Is the 150 air miles one way or round trip? The 150 air-mile radius is a one-way, direct line(“as the crow flies”), away from the normal work reporting location. 150 air-miles is equal to 172.4 statute miles.

    A website is helpful in determining which cities are within an air-mile radius is:

    #2 - The 16 hour exemption my company is using the 14 hour rule are we allowed to use this or not?
    Drivers of Non-CDL vehicles using the 150 air-mile exception can complete up to 11 hours of driving within 16-consecutive hours, up to twice per week. The remaining 5 days, the drivers must complete 11 hours of driving within 14-consecutive hours.

    For drivers that meet the criteria below and are not using the 150 air-mile exception, they can use the 16-hour “big day” exception. Usually these are 100 air-mile CDL drivers in CDL vehicles, that use the exception. Details of the exception are noted below.

    If there are further questions, please let us know.

    §395.1(o) 16-hour exception
    For drivers of property-carrying commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) who drive locally, there is an exception to the 14-hour rule (which requires that drivers of property-carrying CMVs stop driving upon reaching the 14th consecutive hour after first coming on duty). The so-called “short-haul” exception allows these drivers to extend the 14-hour period by two hours once per week, under certain conditions.
    A driver can drive a CMV after the 14th hour after coming on duty, but not after the 16th hour, IF he or she:
    • Was released from duty at the normal work reporting location for the previous 5 duty tours, and
    • Returns to the normal work reporting location and is released from duty within 16 hours, and
    • Has not used this exception in the previous 6 consecutive days, except following a 34-hour restart.
    Drivers claiming this exception remain subject to the 11-hour driving limit, but they essentially have an extra two hours in which to complete that driving.
    Note that a 34-hour restart will allow a driver to use this exception more than once every 6 days, but a restart will not affect the requirement that the driver must have returned to the normal work reporting location for the previous 5 duty tours.
    Short-haul drivers who normally use the 100-air-mile exception and do not complete a standard grid log will have to complete a log on days when they use the short-haul exception, because they are working beyond the 12-hour limit
    Note: There is no definition of “short haul” or “normal work reporting location.” These terms are generally understood to refer to drivers who start from and return to the same location on a daily basis.

  6. 6. Stephan Tremble [ December 13, 2017 @ 04:55AM ]

    Can I use my exception rule once a week when weather conditions are bad to get back home

  7. 7. Miguel Garcia [ December 17, 2017 @ 07:23PM ]

    Recently an individual has been trying to convince me that if we use the 150 miles short haul exemption that it will not apply if non cdl vehicle is being operated by a individual that possesses a cdl. What are your thoughts?


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