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Questioning Exemptions

As you may know, most commercial truckers must stop driving no later than 14 hours after their workday begins.

Many oil and gas industry drivers, however, do not have to count time spent waiting at the well site while other crews finish their tasks. These wait times can sometimes stretch over 10 hours.

If most commercial truckers work 60 hours over seven consecutive days, they must take at least 34 hours off so they can get two full nights of sleep.

Oil and gas truckers who work that long are required to take only 24 hours off.

The oil field exemptions were granted in the 1960s after officials in the industry argued that its drivers needed more flexibility in their schedules.

Since then, the exemptions have survived repeated attempts to remove them, mostly because of lobbying and donations from big oil..

In 2010, federal authorities proposed revisions to highway regulations.

Dozens of executives from trucking and oil and gas companies commented:

  1. Changing the rules would “require more drivers to do the same amount of work in a time when we are having difficulty recruiting enough drivers,”
  2. Others argued that companies would have to hire more inexperienced drivers, making roads less safe.
  3. Some argued that the problem isn't the hours of work and fatigue, but drug use by some.

In December, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration declined to eliminate the oil and gas industry exemptions, explaining that the exemptions had “been in place for nearly 50 years” and were clear enough.

Thus, when you are on the roads any where in the Eagle Ford Shale or up in the Oil Patch, drive defensively, assume the other driver may fall asleep at the wheel, assume the other driver does not see you, wear your seat belt.

If you ever need to speak with one of our Lawyers – call us day or night at 800-862-1260.

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