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What You Need to Know About Spring Storms & the Adverse Driving Conditions Exception
Mariah Barr
4 mins read

Your drivers' hours of service may be impacted by upcoming spring weather. Here's how to use the adverse driving conditions exemption to stay compliant.

Many regions across the US can soon expect to see increased levels of rainfall; however, some states are still dealing with sleet, snow, and blizzard conditions.

If you're still driving through the white stuff, we recommend this Foley article. It explains specific state snow removal laws to help you stay compliant. You may also wish to review the FMCSA hours-of-service rules, including the adverse driving exception, which is mostly used during snowy conditions.

But if you're operating a business with drivers who are traveling through springtime states, you may be wondering...

Can CMV drivers use the adverse driving exception during spring storms?

Below, we'll answer that question and address how severe weather can impact your operations and the hours-of-service regulations you need to follow.

When Can You Use the Adverse Driving Conditions Exception?

The FMCSA defines adverse driving conditions as: “Snow, sleet, fog, or other challenging weather conditions, a highway covered with snow or ice, or unusual road and traffic conditions, which were not known to the dispatcher or driver at the time the run began."

So, while this may include an unexpected storm or a traffic delay due to a crash, it doesn’t apply to drivers sitting in traffic due to regular or rush-hour congestion.

If unexpected adverse driving conditions slow down your drivers, they may drive up to two additional hours to travel distances that could have been completed under normal conditions. This boosts the maximum driving time up to 13 hours for property motor carriers and 12 hours for passenger carriers.

It’s important to note that the adverse conditions exemption only applies to driving time. This means that no matter what conditions exist, property motor carriers cannot drive after having been on duty for 14 consecutive hours, and passenger motor carriers cannot drive after having been on duty for 15 consecutive hours.

Maintaining DOT Compliance Under the Adverse Driving Conditions Exception

If your drivers use an electronic logging device (ELD), they are required to note the adverse driving conditions on their record of duty status (RODS) and include details about the condition. Drivers using paper logs or alternative logging systems are encouraged to note when they experience adverse driving conditions as well.

Learn More About HOS Rules Here

The RODS are the appropriate spaces for your drivers to explain the weather and/or road conditions during spring storms to ensure they fall under the adverse driving conditions exception, so you can maintain your DOT compliance.

Put Some Spring in Your Step with Comprehensive DOT Compliance Solutions

The adverse driving conditions exception is designed to help your drivers safely travel to their destinations without making rash decisions to stay under traditional hours-of-service restrictions. Ensuring your drivers use the exception appropriately, even in the spring, is key to staying under the FMCSA's radar (avoiding compliance reviews as much as possible). 

Foley can also help your company avoid FMCSA interventions with Dash, our DOT compliance software. Meeting hours-of-service regulations (and the recordkeeping requirements that accompany them) can be challenging on your own. With the right software solution, you don't need to worry if you're meeting federal guidelines or prepared to pass an audit.

Request your FREE DOT compliance software demo with one of our experts now. We'll walk you through your compliance requirements and clear the air with any hours-of-service questions you may have. 

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