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D-1. May a short-haul driver take two 15-hour on-duty periods in a seven-day period, rather than one 16-hour on-duty period?

No. The 16-hour on-duty exception may not be split.[Posted April 2003]

D-2. Won't the 16-hour exception result in additional fatigue?

No. Safety is the agency's top priority. The 16-hour exception deals primarily with short-haul trucking operations in a common sense, accountable manner. The 16-hour exception takes into consideration legitimate business needs without jeopardizing safety. Short-haul operations typically spend more time performing on-duty, non-driving activities, than do long-haul operations, thus the extra hours result in significant improvements in efficiency. The one 16-hour on-duty period also allows carriers an opportunity to provide in-service training and education without impacting employee productivity. FMCSA estimates that without the extra 2 on-duty hours, the industry would be required to hire at least 48,000 new drivers. The agency believes this would actually worsen crash-reduction benefits.[Posted 12/30/03]

D-3. What is a "duty tour" as the term is used in 395.1(o)? May a driver work a 16-hour extended day after having been off-duty for 34 consecutive hours? Must a driver comply with the 5-duty tour provision prior to a 34-hour off-duty period?

The 16-hour exemption in 395.1(o) is designed for one day "duty tours." The duty tour is the interval between the time a driver comes on duty and is released from duty on a daily basis. This period begins and ends at the driver's normal work reporting location and may only be used following 10 or more consecutive hours off duty, 10 or more consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, or a combination of 10 or more consecutive hours off-duty and sleeper berth time.

The 16-hour exemption may be used as long as the driver has not used it within the previous 6 consecutive days, except when the driver has begun a new 7- or 8-consecutive day period with the beginning of any off duty period of 34 or more consecutive hours. The driver must return to the normal work reporting location and be released from duty at that location for the previous 5 duty tours the driver has worked, regardless of whether or not the 34-hour restart provision is being used.[Posted 12/30/03]

D-4. If a driver is "on duty, not driving" during the 15th and 16th hour of his duty tour and does not drive after that, has he used the 16-hour exception in 395.1(o)?

No. Example: If a driver was on duty 16 hours on Wednesday, but didn't drive after being on duty 14 hours, could he use the 16 hour extension on Friday and be allowed to drive after the 14th hour as long as all other conditions and regulations (11-, 16-, and 60/70- hour rules) were met?

In this scenario, the driver may choose to use the 16-hour extension on Friday as long as the driver meets all of the requirements for the 16-hour exception outlined in 395.1(o) and also remains in compliance with 395.3(a)(1) and 395.3(b). Although the 16 hours on duty on Wednesday will count toward the driver's 60/70 calculations, the driver has not utilized the 16-hour exception unless the driver has actually driven after the 14th hour.[Posted 12/30/03]

D-5. May a driver having more than one "normal" work reporting location use the 395.1(o) "16 hr exception"?

As stated in 395.1(o) and current 395.1 Interpretation Question 15, a driver having more than one "normal" work reporting location could use the 395.1(o) 16-hour exception; however, its availability would be limited by the requirement of 395.1(o)(1) that the "carrier released the driver from duty at that location for the previous five duty tours the driver has worked?" Assuming the driver's normal duty tour is on a daily cycle, a driver alternating between two normal work locations on a weekly basis would not be able to utilize the exception unless he worked six days per week, and then the exception could only be used on the sixth day.[Posted 12/30/03]

D-6. May a driver utilize the adverse driving rule, which extends the driving time by two additional hours, in conjunction with the 16-hour exception, which allows driving during the 14th and 15th hour but does not remove the 11-hour driving limit? If these two rules were used in combination the driver could drive 13 hours in a 16-hour period. Is that allowable?

No. A driver may not use the exception for adverse driving conditions while also using the 16-hour exception for property carrying drivers. Section 395.1(b)(1)(ii) of the adverse driving conditions exception specifically states that a property-carrying driver may not drive or be permitted to drive after he/she has been on duty after the end of the 14th hour after coming on duty following 10 consecutive hours off duty.[Posted 1/16/04]

D-7. When the "16 hour exception" is used, may sleeper berth periods or extended off-duty periods be included in the "duty tour?" How does this affect team drivers?

The 395.1(o) exception for property-carrying drivers is for drivers who return to the normal work reporting location and are released from duty at the end of each of the previous 5 duty tours. The use of 10 consecutive hours off duty or the equivalent (sleeper berth, off duty, or any allowable combination thereof) would interrupt the duty tour without the driver having returned to the work reporting location. This would be relevant for both single and team drivers.[Posted 2/2/04]