Waste Management applies for HOS exemption to increase hours for short-haul drivers

(Photo: Waste Management Holdings)

Waste Management Holdings has applied for an hours of service exemption, asking the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to consider allowing its drivers to work extra hours without losing short-haul status.

Drivers can operate under the HOS short-turn exemption if they have returned to their starting point and are off the clock within 12 hours of beginning their workday. These drivers are also restricted to a 100-air-mile radius and required to take 10 hours off between shifts.

Drivers with this exemption do not have to maintain record of duty status in the vehicle. However, if a driver works over 12 hours, they must prepare records for the entire day, often by way of ELD, according to a FMCSA notice about the application.

WMH is asking FMCSA to grant a 5-year exemption that would allow 18,000 of its drivers in 84 subsidiaries or affiliates to work up to 14 hours each shift without losing short-haul status.

“These drivers routinely qualify for the short-haul exception,” the FMCSA notice reads. “However, occasionally they cannot complete their duty day within 12 hours.”

WMH said ELDs cause delays and distractions in its vehicles because of the stop-and-go nature of trash pick-up, noting that ELDs do not have “a provision for blocking service time.”

The company told FMCSA that its drivers end up having to interact with the devices “hundreds if not thousands of times a day,” impacting driver and community safety.

WMH pointed out that some drivers are already permitted to work up to 14 hours per shift without losing short-haul status, including those dealing with ready-made concrete and asphalt paving.

“[The application] asserts that WMH’s operations are similar to these industries because its drivers ‘spend a significant portion of their days conducting non-driving duties,’” the FMCSA notice reads. “It states that WMH anticipates‘ ‘no reduction in safety from the exemption requested, and a potential for increased safety due to reduced [driver] distraction.’”

WMH attributed this sustained safety to its internal fatigue management program. The program utilizes video cameras to record things like aggressive braking, steering and acceleration.

“When WMH’s assessment of the recording indicates that driver fatigue is involved, WMH managers may discipline the driver,” the FMCSA report states. “More commonly, WMH managers assess the driver’s overall lifestyle and health, including his or her off-duty activities and medical history, and counsel the individual on changes he or she can undertake to ameliorate fatigue.”

The program also includes managers riding along with drivers several times each year, according to the notice.

FMCSA will accept public comments concerning WMH’s application through Aug. 16. Visit FMSCA’s website for detailed instructions on how to submit comments online or via mail.

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Ashley Coker, Staff Writer

Ashley is interested in the opportunities and issues that arise at the intersection of law and technology. She is the primary contributor to the news site content. She studied journalism at Middle Tennessee State University and worked as an editor and reporter at two daily newspapers before joining FreightWaves. Ashley spends her free time at the dog park with her beagle, Ruth, or scouring the internet for last minute flight deals.

One Comment

  1. ELD units automatically switch from stop time to drive time. There is no reason to interact 1000s of times a day or every driver of every truck would have to do the same in traffic, at stop signs, ans stop lights. WM simply does not want to comply with a law that has been on the books for years.

  2. I don’t know how stepping on the gas and brake pedal for 14 hours a day is considered non driving duties

  3. Yeah just keep working the guys into the ground and they wonder why their are so many injuries and accidents.

  4. We’re human not machine How Can you Want to ruin your employees 14 hours in the day that is totally totally insane Maybe there should be one of your family members working like a robot

  5. Lets read the "Already existing laws/rules". After a 12 hour shift (which is all too common now) a driver has to be off the clock for 10 hours between shifts. Simple math tells me that 12 hours plus 10 hours = 22 hours. Now 8 of those 10 hours better be sleep!! That leaves a whopping 4 hours to be a father/husband or mother/wife, attend school functions, attend youth sporting events, cut the grass, grocery shop and whatever else the average American does after his or her work day. 4 hours? NOW Waste Management wants to works their drivers and/or operators 14 hours a day? Being a garbage man is a very physically demanding job that not very many people consider doing these days and its performed in every kind of weather you can think of. Ones body needs "downtime" to recover. We are humans NOT machines!! The standard 40 hour work week was put into place for a reason yet it does not exist for ANY of those drivers now. Now I’ve been a commercial rearload driver for 23yrs and I can personally tell you that I have been on the brink of divorce many times and I’ve missed more of my kids games or school functions because I’m always at work! Those are things and times that one cannot get back. The majority of the people I work with are either divorced, going through a divorce or stressed out and fatigued beyond belief. Driver fatigue is a big problem now and they still want to work us more? The safety of the drivers and the general public has got to be first priority!! The solution and the ONLY solution is to hire more qualified personnel, reduce the size of the routes and/or the amount of stops on each route (each route is different and unique in its own way). If they keep making the routes bigger, the driver works harder and faster. What do you think will eventually happen? Working overtime should be an option NOT a mandate!! We are already short handed and if and when a driver breaks down those routes still need to be finished. And God forbid a driver gets injured. Injuries are common in this industry and they come with the territory. These companies are trying to take the cheap way out by working already existing drivers more hours instead of buying more trucks and hiring more drivers. Or streamlining the routes to where they are smaller yet just as productive and efficient. SAFETY HAS TO BE FIRST!! Working longer shifts is NOT safe for anyone! Nor is it healthy. OSHA, Unions and the safety standards that already exist are there for a reason. This application for HOS exemption must not be granted!!