The explosion of natural gas drilling in our area has resulted in an increased number of trucks on our roadways that are hauling materials to and from the drilling sites. Under the current Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, these truck drivers could spend a maximum of 14 hours a day on-duty. The allowed 14 consecutive hours on-duty is already a dangerously long time to spend behind the wheel; however, truck companies and their drivers were violating this rule by attempting to exploit an exemption designed for special oilfield service equipment. Under the exemption, truck drivers are allowed to subtract the time that they spent waiting for equipment to be unloaded from their 14 hour daily maximum.
After a New York Times article revealed the staggering number of drivers that were inappropriately subtracting on-site time from their daily total, the United States Department of Transportation issued a rule clarification that disallows truckers hauling sand and water to drilling sites from subtracting unloading time. In hopes, the clarification will keep fatigued truckers off our roadways.