WASHINGTON — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has announced its decision to provisionally renew a U.S. Custom Harvesters Inc. (USCHI) exemption from the “K” intrastate restriction on commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) for custom harvester drivers operating in interstate commerce. The renewal is for a two-year period, with additional terms and conditions.
According to a posting on the Federal Register, FMCSA’s regulations currently provide an exception to the minimum age requirements for drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) controlled and operated by a person engaged in interstate custom harvesting. However, under the agency’s CDL regulations, states may include an intrastate-only (or “K”) restriction for these drivers.
This provisional renewal of the exemption continues relief from the CDL provision for two years.
This renewed exemption is effective Oct. 3, 2023, through October 3, 2025.
Comments must be received on or before Nov. 13, 2023.
Custom harvesters frequently employ drivers younger than 21 years of age, who are issued CDLs with a “K” restriction that makes the license valid only for operations within the issuing state.
Under an exception in place since 1971, the 21-year-old age requirement, however, does not apply to a CMV driver who drives a CMV controlled and operated by a person engaged in custom-harvesting operations, provided that certain conditions are met. (49 CFR 391.2). Those drivers are therefore allowed to drive in interstate custom harvesting operations notwithstanding the “K” restriction on their licenses.
USCHI states that even though CMV drivers engaged in custom harvesting are excepted from the 21-year-old requirement, they are frequently cited during roadside inspections because of the presence of the “K” restriction on their license. USCHI states that this issue impacts the safety records of drivers and employers.
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