An Inside Look at the 100/150 Air-Mile Exemption

By Richard Pummell. Foley Carrier Services

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA’s) hours-of-service regulations are a complex set of rules that are aimed at ensuring drivers of large vehicles are not too tired or overworked to drive safely. Long-haul CDL drivers who travel outside of 100 air-miles are required to take a 30-minute rest period every eight hours and to log all of their activity during a 24-hour time frame. This includes everything from driving time, to fueling, to time spent in a sleeper berth.

Because many DOT-regulated small businesses, such as home service companies and landscapers, operate in a primarily local area many of them are allowed to utilize what’s known as the 100/150 Air-Mile Radius Exemption.

What is the 100/150 Air-Mile Exemption?

An “air-mile” is a nautical measurement of distance that basically excludes any twists or turns. So if your headquarters are located at Point A, an air-mile is the distance you would travel in a straight line to your destination – Point B.

The 100 air-mile exemption applies to CDL drivers who:

  • Operate within 100 air-miles;
  • Go off-duty within 12 hours;
  • Report back to the same work location every day;
  • Have at least 10 consecutive hours off-duty before starting the next on-duty period.

The 150 air-mile exemption applies to non-CDL drivers who:

  • Operate within 150 air-miles;
  • Do not drive through any state that requires a CDL for the type of vehicle being driven;
  • Report back to the same work location every day;
  • Do not drive after the 14th hour of coming on duty in a period of 7 consecutive days;
  • Do not drive after the 16th hour of coming on duty in a period of 2 consecutive days.

What are you exempt from?

Certain hours-of-service rules apply no matter what. For example, drivers are never allowed to drive more than 11 hours, nor are they allowed to drive after having been on-duty for 14 hours.

The primary benefit to using the air-mile exemption is that drivers are not required to take a 30-minute break period or maintain a detailed log of their duty status. That being said, drivers are still required to record their time albeit in a far less detailed manner.

Time Records

Drivers who qualify to use the exemption must maintain a record of:

  • The time they go on-duty;
  • The total number of hours they are on-duty;
  • The time they go off-duty.

It is important to understand that all of the qualifications listed above must be met in order to use the exemption. If a situation arises that nullifies even one of the qualifications, then all of the standard hours-of-service rules apply. For example: Joe Plumber begins his day at 8:00 a.m. At 7:30 p.m. he is still working on a job that is taking far longer than expected. At 8:00 p.m., Joe must begin keeping a log detailing all his time from 8:00 a.m. for next 24 hours. In addition, he has to make sure he is done working by 10:00 p.m. or he cannot use his truck to drive home.

First-Time/Intermittent Drivers

Many 100/150 air-mile radius businesses employ drivers on an intermittent or part-time basis. In cases where a first-time or intermittent driver is used, the driver is required to provide his previous 7 days of on-duty time. “On-duty” refers to all time spent working, which means if a driver works part-time flipping burgers he has to include those hours on his time record. And that could impact how many hours are actually left in order to utilize the 100/150 air-mile exemption.

As with all Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, it is important to familiarize yourself with the hours-of-service requirements. It may seem like an unnecessary hassle for companies that don’t travel long distances, but should an FMCSA auditor find non-compliance with any of the hours-of-service rules the hassle that may ensue would be far more severe.

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