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The Truth Behind the 100-Air Mile Exception

The Truth Behind the 100-Air Mile Exception

You have been involved in a motor vehicle crash. The other vehicle was a much larger commercial motor vehicle. You were injured in the crash. The crash was not your fault. While at the scene of the crash you speak to the commercial motor vehicle operator and he seemed tired. You then ask the investigating officer “how long had the truck driver been on duty?” The Officer responds he/she, “is a local driver and is not required to maintain logs.”  You are confused! How can you determine if the driver was complying with hour of service requirements? How can you find out How many hours the driver had been driving? At Bordas & Bordas, we can help request and hopefully preserve documents responsive to these issues. We can help determine if the driver and/or trucking company were in fact complying with the Bible of the trucking industry (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations). 

Some truck drivers are not required to maintain daily logs, but they still must keep certain daily documents to demonstrate how long they are in fact on duty.  The 100 air-mile exemption, which is in the regulations at §395.1(e)(1), allows a commercial driver to use a time record in place of a log, provided that certain conditions are met. While this is possibly the most widely used hours-of-service exemption, it may be the most commonly misused exemption, as well.

So, what are the basics? To be able to use this logging exemption, the driver must:

Stay within 100 air-miles of the work reporting location for the day (draw a 100 air-mile radius circle around the work reporting location for the day — the driver must stay within this circle).

Be back to — and released from — the work reporting location for his/her 8- or 10-hour break within 12 hours, and

Include the starting and ending times for the day and the total hours on duty on the time record for the day.

The Driver’s company must retain the time record and have it available for inspection for six months.

What if any of these requirements are not met? What if the driver goes too far or works too many hours? If a driver cannot meet the terms of the exemption (he or she goes too far or works too many hours), the driver must complete a regular driver’s log for the day as soon as the exemption no longer applies. If the driver fails to complete a log, then he/she is in violation of the FMCSR.  More importantly, the company is violating the FMCSR, especially, if the company allows the driver to habitually violate this rule. 

If a driver using the 100-air mike radius is required to complete a log 8 or fewer days out of the last 30 days, the driver can use a paper log for the day. If the driver had to complete a log more than 8 days out of the last 30 days, the driver needs to use an electronic log for the day (unless one of the ELD exemptions applies, such as operating a vehicle older than model year 2000).

Here are some of the common myths and misunderstandings about the 100 air-mile exemption:

The driver must have the time records in the vehicle. Myth. The driver simply needs to explain to an officer during a roadside inspection that he/she does not have logs due to operating under the 100 air-mile exemption and that the required time records are back at the carrier’s office.

The driver must log the previous seven days if he/she had been using this exemption and suddenly can’t. Myth. If the driver cannot use the exemption on one particular day, that is the only day the driver must use a regular log (either paper or electronic).

A driver that crosses state lines cannot use this exemption. Myth. As this exemption appears in the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) regulations, it can be used by interstate drivers.

Only drivers that operate out of a “company terminal” can use the 100 air-mile exemption. Myth. As long as the driver makes it back to the work reporting location for the day within the appropriate number of hours, the driver can use the exemption.

Drivers that move from one jobsite to another every few weeks cannot use this exemption. Myth. If a driver that normally uses this exemption switches work reporting locations, the day the driver switches work reporting locations is the only day the driver cannot use the exemption.

Drivers covered by this exemption are also exempt from the driver qualification (licensing and medical cards), driving, and vehicle inspection requirements. Myth. The only rules the driver is exempt from are the logging requirement in §395.8 and the 30-minute break requirement in §395.3.

The driver cannot drive more than 100 miles for the day. Myth. The driver can drive as many miles as he/she wants to or needs to, as long as the driver stays within the 100 air-mile radius circle and gets back to the work reporting location within the appropriate number of hours.

If a 100 air-mile driver gets into a vehicle with an ELD, the driver must use it. Myth. The carrier can have the driver log in and have the driver entered into the system as an “exempt driver,” or the carrier can request that the driver not log into the device and then attach a comment to the unassigned driving time generated by the driver’s movements. 

If a trucking company has drivers that use these exemptions, it is required to check time records to make sure the drivers are complying with the appropriate time limits. A trucking company will also need to check movement records to verify that the drivers using these exemptions are staying within the mandated area.  It is the trucking company’s responsibility to ensure compliance. 

If a driver is over the hours limit, or has gone too far, the company needs to verify that the driver took the required 30-minute break and submitted a log for the day, either paper of electronic, depending on how many days the driver had to log out of the previous 30 days.

If you, or a loved one, is involved in a crash, it is important to make sure these important time records are preserved (if they exist) to determine if the driver and/or the company are complying with the applicable hours of service requirements.  Let us at Bordas & Bordas help you. 

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