NWRA Wins Hours-of-Service Exemption from FMCSA for its Members

FMCSA Specifies Exemption is Only for NWRA Member Companies

Arlington, VA – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced today that it would grant the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) a rare Hours-of-Service exemption exclusively to its members that will eliminate the need for them to use Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) as otherwise is required under new rules. NWRA first made this request in November 2018.

“This is a historic win for our members in the waste and recycling industry,” said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith. “While NWRA recognizes the safety benefits that ELDs present for other sectors, these devices are actually counterproductive for our industry and increase risks associated with distracted driving due to the frequency that waste and recycling industry drivers must interact with them. We are pleased that FMCSA agreed with our petition for an exemption for the members of our association.”

Under the exemption, the time limit for waste and recycling collection drivers to return to their work reporting location is increased from 12 hours to 14 hours. The daily driving limit remains at 11 hours.

According to the Notice of Final Disposition to be published in the Federal Register on November 21, “This exemption is limited to the provisions of 49 CFR 395.1(e)(1)(ii) and is available only to drivers for companies that are members of NWRA. These drivers must comply with all other applicable provisions of the FMCSRs.” (emphasis added)

FMCSA granted NWRA member company Waste Management’s request for such an exemption on October 25, 2018, citing the ready-mix concrete and asphalt pavement industries due to the waste and recycling industry’s similarities with them. Other NWRA members have since filed requests with FMCSA for the same exemption. Granting this exemption specifically to NWRA members brings consistent rulemaking across the Association’s membership.

“It is estimated that the ELD requirement would have cost our members $116.7 million over two years,” stated Jim Riley, NWRA chief counsel and senior vice president for government affairs. “That does not include fines levied on drivers and carriers for exceeding the daily 11-hour driving limit due to ELD technology not being able to accurately record all the on-duty but non-driving tasks drivers perform each day. This cost savings will enable our members to grow their businesses and create more good-paying jobs.”

NWRA is only the third association to receive a year-round exemption. FMCSA has previously granted this exemption to the American Concrete Pumping Association and the National Asphalt Pavement Association. NWRA thanks our members who commented and submitted their own requests for exemptions.

An advanced copy of the Notice of Final Disposition can be found here.

The exemption’s effective date is upon its publication in the Federal Register and is good for five years.


The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) represents the private sector waste and recycling services industry. Association members conduct business in all 50 states and include companies that manage waste, recycling and medical waste, equipment manufacturers and distributors, and a variety of other service providers. For more information about NWRA, please visit www.wasterecycling.org.

Brandon Wright
National Waste and Recycling Association