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.

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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]

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