Feds Amend Emergency Declaration for Hurricanes, Storms

Updated regional waiver affects seven states recently impacted by bad weather.

September 01, 2020

WASHINGTON—Regional field administrators for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Southern, Western and Midwestern service centers have updated a Regional Emergency Declaration and an exemption from Parts 390 through 399 of the FMCSA regulations in response to hurricanes or tropical storms Laura and Marco.

The declaration addresses the emergency conditions creating a need for immediate transportation of supplies, goods, equipment, fuel and persons, as well as provides necessary relief to the affected states:  Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

By execution of the declaration, motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance to the emergency in those states are granted relief from Parts 390 through 399 of Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations, except as restricted. Direct assistance terminates when a driver or commercial motor vehicle is used in interstate commerce to transport cargo or provide services not in support of emergency relief efforts or when the motor carrier dispatches a driver or commercial motor vehicle to another location. 

Upon termination of direct assistance to emergency relief efforts, the motor carrier and driver are once again subject to the requirements of the code, except that a driver may return empty to the motor carrier’s terminal or the driver’s normal work reporting location without complying. 

When a driver is moving from emergency relief efforts to normal operations, a 10-hour break is required if the total time a driver conducts emergency relief efforts, or a combination of emergency relief and normal operation, equals 14 hours. 

Nothing contained in the declaration shall be construed as an exemption from the controlled substances and alcohol use and testing requirements, the commercial driver’s license requirements, the financial responsibility (insurance) requirements, the hazardous material regulations, applicable size and weight requirements or any other portion of the regulations.

Motor carriers or drivers currently subject to an out-of-service order are not eligible for the relief granted by this declaration until they have met the applicable conditions for its rescission and the order has been rescinded by FMCSA. This declaration is effective now and shall remain in effect for the duration of the emergency or until 11:59 p.m. ET on Sept. 23, 2020, whichever is less.