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Feds Want HOS Changes for Oilfield Drivers

Ruben Tyler Kendrick4 years ago

In recent years, as the oil and gas industry has boomed, the number of field service trucks on the road has increased. Unfortunately, more trucks running long hours can mean more accidents for oilfield workers.

Oil Field Truckers, Driver Fatigue, and HOS Rules

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), from 2003 to 2008, 648 oilfield workers died in job-related accidents; about 1/3 of those deaths were caused by truck accidents.
  • This is higher than the trucking death average across all other industries.
  • Some regulators speculate that truck driver fatigue may be to blame for the high death toll and cite loose enforcement of truck driving HOS regulations as a possible cause.
  • Hours of Service (HOS) regulations were put in place to help curb truck driver fatigue by mandating break and rest periods for drivers.
  • Oil and gas truck drivers are exempt from standard HOS regulations. Instead of having to have at least 34 hours off for every 60 hours of work, these drivers are only required to take off 24 hours for every 70 hours of work.
  • On June 5, 2012, in an attempt to cut down on fatigued driving accidents, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed new guidance for HOS rules concerning oilfield workers.

FMCSA Guidance for Oil Field Workers

  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is proposing a required 24 hour rest period for every 70 hours of work for all trucks that visit oil and gas sites instead of just those who exclusively transport oil and gas equipment.
  • The only drivers who can apply the “on duty time” wait time exception are drivers who are specially trained to service oil wells as well as drive. All other drivers must count the time they wait at a site towards their on duty time.
  • This regulatory guidance is effective June 5, 2012. The FMCSA is accepting public comments through August 6, 2012.
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