National Safety Code Hours of Service: Special Provisions

Sections of Division 37 of the BC Motor Vehicle Act Regulations.

Special provisions:

(Included are sections of Division 37 of the BC Motor Vehicle Act Regulations “the National Safety Code”)

(British Columbia Motor Vehicle Act Regulations BCMVAR)

(Exemption for commercial motor vehicles of a certain weight
37.11.01  BCMVAR
The director may
(a) exempt from this Part, unconditionally, or on conditions the director considers desirable, commercial motor vehicles with a licensed gross vehicle weight or gross vehicular weight of over 5 000 kilograms and under 11 795 kilograms)

To better define the above situations.
The Hours of Service requirements were introduced to:

  • prevent drivers from driving too long without proper rest
  • prevent driving too far without proper rest,
  • and prevent doing a combination of driving and on-duty not driving too long without proper rest.

There are, however, situations that are exceptions and require more time driving; usually unplanned events that have forced the driver to drive beyond the allowable hours. The National Safety Code has made provisions for such events, however there are strict guidelines to using the provisions.

Drivers have standard Hours of Services that must be followed and they are not driving after:

  • 13 hours driving without 8 consecutive hours off duty
  • 14 hours on-duty time without 8 consecutive hours off duty
  • 70 hours within 7 days
  • 120 hours in 14 days (must have 24 consecutive hours off after the 70th hour)

The special provisions are for extra time when needed. The first provision is deferral.
Deferral of daily off-duty time:
(37.13.04  BCMVAR)
Despite sections 37.13.01 and 37.13.03 BCMVAR, a driver who is not splitting off-duty time in accordance with section 37.16 BCMVAR or 37.16.01 BCMVAR may defer a maximum of two hours of the daily off-duty time to the following day if
(a) the off-duty time deferred is not part of the mandatory eight consecutive hours of off-duty time,
(b) the total off-duty time taken in the two days is at least twenty hours,
(c) the off-duty time deferred is added to the eight consecutive hours of off-duty time taken in the second day,
(d) the total driving time in the two days does not exceed twenty-six hours, and
(e) there is a declaration in the “Remarks” section of the daily log that states that the driver is deferring off-duty time under this section and that clearly indicates whether the driver is driving under day one or day two of that time.

So what does this mean? Deferral means moving two hours of off-duty time to the next day and making that time up in the first break. So instead of eight consecutive hours off, the driver would take ten consecutive hours off. The next day would also only be a twelve hour day as the day before would have been a sixteen hour day. The driver must remember that the hours must be equal to a two-day average. A maximum of twenty-eight hours on-duty and a minimum of twenty hours off-duty equals a two-day total of 48 hours. The deferral can be used every second day, but the driver has to monitor the hours very carefully to ensure that the hours off-duty and on-duty are accurate. Basically, the driver can move driving hours back and forth every two days, but there are still limits to ensure rest and time off the road.

The second special provision is adverse weather. Emergencies and adverse driving conditions:
(37.17.03 BC MVAR)
(2) A driver who encounters adverse driving conditions while operating the vehicle may extend the allowed thirteen hours of driving time specified in sections 37.13.01 and 37.13.02 and reduce the two hours of daily off-duty time required by section 37.13.03 (3) by the amount of time needed to complete the trip if
(a) the driving, on-duty and elapsed time in the elected cycle is not extended more than two hours,
(b) the driver still takes the required eight consecutive hours of off-duty time, and
(c) the trip could have been completed under normal driving conditions without the reduction.
(3) A driver who extends his or her driving, on-duty or elapsed time because of an emergency or adverse driving conditions must record the reason for doing so in the “Remarks” section of the daily log.

The requirements of this part in respect to driving time, on-duty time, and off-duty time do not apply to a driver who, in an emergency, requires more driving time to reach a destination that provides safety for the occupants of the commercial motor vehicle and for other users of the road or the security of the commercial motor vehicle and its load. The National Safety Code is not unrealistic. Sometimes, situations occur where the safest course of action is for the driver to drive a little longer and reach their destination. What’s important is making allowances in the driver’s schedule (he or she still needs eight consecutive hours off-duty) and to record a reason for needing to drive longer than what is standard.

This actually covers any unforeseen event that occurred without the driver knowing. This could be an accident or other catastrophic event that caused a delay in the driver’s travel that that was unknown prior to the trip. The driver can drive a maximum of an extra two hours providing the trip could have normally have been completed within the allowable hours of service.

The third provision applies to some industries only, such as construction and municipal work.
Below are the conditions in which the exemption from the Hours of Service applies:
(From Div.37 of the BC Motor Vehicle Act Regulations)

Part 3 — Hours of Service
Application of this Part
This Part does not apply to a driver who is driving
(a) a 2 or 3 axle commercial motor vehicle that is being used for the transportation of primary products of a farm, forest, sea, or lake where the driver or his employer is the producer of the products,
(a.1) a 2 or 3 axle commercial motor vehicle that is being used for a return trip after transporting the primary products of a farm, forest, sea or lake, if the vehicle is empty or is transporting products used in the principal operation of a farm, forest, sea, or lake,
(b) Repealed. [B.C. Reg. 36/2007, s. 2 (b).]
(c) an emergency vehicle,
(d) a commercial motor vehicle transporting passengers or goods for the purpose of providing relief in the case of an earthquake, flood, fire, famine, drought, epidemic, pestilence or other disaster,
(e) a road building machine as defined in the Commercial Transport Act, a farm tractor or an implement of husbandry,
(f) a commercial motor vehicle that is equipped with a mounted mobile service rig, or equipment that is directly used in the operation or the transportation of a mounted mobile service rig,
(g) a commercial motor vehicle within the definition of “commercial motor vehicle” in section 37.01 but for personal use if

(i) the vehicle has been unloaded,
(ii) any trailers have been unhitched,
(iii) the distance travelled does not exceed 75 km in a day,
(iv) the driver makes a notation in the daily log indicating the odometer reading at the beginning and end
of the personal use
(v) the driver is not the subject of an out-of-service declaration, or

(h) vehicles and other equipment while engaged in highway or public utility construction or maintenance work on, under or over the surface of a highway while at the site of the work, but does apply to him or her while travelling to or from that site.

The provisions above must be used according to the regulations and must not be abused. Hours of Service for drivers is in place for the protection of all road users, including the drivers of National Safety Code Hours of Service-compliant vehicles. Remember that when operating within 160 kilometre radius, Hours of Service logs do not have to be kept by the driver, but the same information must be recorded in the offices for the drivers, including all statuses for the day, starting and quitting time, off-duty time, and twenty-four consecutive hours off-duty every fourteen days. All the time sheets and Hours of Service records must be kept for a minimum of six months.

It is up to the carrier and the drivers to know and understand the Hours of Service.
The provisions for the National Safety Code are not difficult to understand. If there are any parts that are confusing or difficult to work out, reach out to the organization or a consultant who knows the material. Checking for updates on the CVSE website is critical to being informed of any changes to the regulations.

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