States Issue Fuel-Related Hours of Service Waivers

Florida cites Tropical Storm Fred, while Nebraska cites fuel supply bottlenecks.

August 17, 2021

Truck with Tank

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Amid tropical storms, Florida on Friday issued waivers from truck driver hours of service rules until September 12, 2021, while Nebraska last week also issued temporary waivers from trucker work rules citing supply issues related to refineries shutting down for seasonal maintenance.

Tropical Storm Fred made landfall in the Florida Panhandle yesterday afternoon, with top winds of about 60 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm carrying heavy rain was expected to weaken to a tropical depression as it moves inland. Forecasters are also watching Tropical Storm Grace and Tropical Storm Henri.

Ahead of Fred, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in Bay, Calhoun, Citrus, Dixie, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Manatee, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Taylor, Wakulla, Walton and Washington counties.

Under the order, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is authorized to:

  • Suspend enforcement of the registration requirements pursuant to sections 316.545(4) and 320.0715, Florida Statutes, for commercial motor vehicles that enter Florida to provide emergency services or supplies, to transport emergency equipment, supplies or personnel, or to transport FEMA mobile homes or office style mobile homes into or from Florida 
  • Waive the hours-of-service requirements for such vehicles 
  • Waive the size and weight restrictions for divisible loads on any vehicles transporting emergency equipment, services, supplies, and agricultural commodities and citrus as recommended by the Commissioner of Agriculture, allowing the establishment of alternate size and weight restrictions for all such vehicles for the duration of the emergency. The DOT shall issue permits and such vehicles shall be subject to such special conditions as the DOT may endorse on any such pe1mits. 
  • Suspend the enforcement of the licensing and registration requirements under the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) pursuant to chapter 207, Florida Statutes, and the International Registration Plan (IRP) pursuant to section 320.0715, Florida Statutes, for motor carriers or drivers operating commercial motor vehicles that are properly registered in other jurisdictions and that are participating in emergency relief efforts through the transportation of equipment and supplies or providing other assistance in the form of emergency services. 

Pursuant to 49 CFR 390.23, motor carriers and drivers operating a commercial motor vehicle to provide emergency relief during an emergency are exempt from 49 CFR Parts 390-399 until September 12, 2021, (30 days from the date of the governor’s executive order, dated August 13, 2021) under the following conditions and provisions:

  • Regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations is granted only in direct assistance while providing emergency relief. Direct assistance terminates when a driver or commercial motor vehicle is used in commerce to transport cargo or provide services not directly supporting the emergency relief effort. 

Meanwhile, in Nebraska, Gov. Pete Ricketts last week an executive order citing fuel supply shortages in the Midwest “due to refineries shut down for maintenance, issues with the transition from winter gasoline to summer gasoline, and shortages due to drier, warmer temperatures.”

The order indicates that motor carriers are waiting longer at terminals. The temporary waiver of requirements under 49 CFR part 395 Hours of Service of Drivers for the limited purpose of hauling fuel expires August 31, 2021.

NACS resources are available to help convenience retailers develop or enhance their disaster planning procedures. The Convenience Store Emergency Planning and Job Aids are designed to help convenience retailers quickly and efficiently determine the best course of action for their teams to plan for an emergency and resume operations quickly and safely.

For more emergency planning resources, NACS Magazine articles and Convenience Matters podcast episodes, visit theDisaster and Emergency Preparedness page.