The New England Fuel Institute (NEFI) is pointing out that a new Federal Highway Administration high-visibility apparel rule's lack of clarity could make it apply to petroleum drivers that deliver product, such as heating oil or propane, while parked in the right-of-way of a federal aid highway.
NEFI pointed out in its weekly e-newsletter, NEON, that FHWA is set to implement a new rule that requires workers within federal-aid highway right-of-ways to wear high visibility apparel. Under the FHWA rule, any worker walking within the right-of-way of a federal aid highway must wear high visibility safety apparel--specifically, ANSI Class 2 reflective vests. The rule was written to protect emergency responders, highway maintenance employees, and construction workers from vehicular traffic while working within the right of way of federally funded highways.
However, NEON noted that FHWA recently said the rule applied to any worker within the right-of-way of a federal aid highway. However, this interpretation is at odds with the more restrictive language adopted under the final rule that clearly exempts delivery truck drivers from compliance. The scope of the rule is made murkier since it only applies to workers on federal aid highways, which are defined as highways on the federal-aid highway systems and all other public roads not classified as local roads or rural minor collectors.
Complicating matters further are reports from several states that drivers delivering heating oil from trucks parked on a public road were recently warned by law enforcement that they must wear reflective vests. The FHWA rule took effect November 24, 2008. NEON said that NEFI Regulatory Counsel Mark S Morgan is working with FHWA in order to clear up, as quickly as possible, the applicability issue as it relates to petroleum drivers.