FMCSA Suspends Hours of Service Regs for Harvey Relief and Irma Prep

Disaster Relief Trucking

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has suspended the hours of service regulations for truckers in 26 states until the emergency situation in Texas and Louisiana has been declared over or until September 24, whichever comes first. The hours of service rule for truck drivers was first published in 2011 to ensure drivers of commercial or motor vehicles are taking breaks after 11-14 consecutive hours of driving.

Truckers who are hauling gasoline, propane, jet fuel, diesel and any other disaster relief loads can now provide these items to those in need without worrying about the typical regulations. The FMCSA stated the suspension applies to anyone hauling or providing direct assistance to the emergency efforts in Texas and Louisiana. Along with fuel, types of loads truckers are delivering to these areas consist of FEMA mobile homes, emergency equipment, supplies and personnel. Some of the states affected by the suspension include:

  • Florida
  • Ohio
  • Indiana
  • Illinois
  • Georgia
  • Pennsylvania
  • New York
  • Kentucky
  • Tennessee

FMCSA has declared this regional emergency, “in anticipation of a regional shortage of fuel products” directly related to Hurricane Harvey.

Hurricane Harvey has disrupted about 20 to 25 percent of the country’s oil refineries and pipelines, causing gas prices to rise. While some of these pipelines have partially reopened, it could be months before operations return to normal at some of the refineries hit hardest by the hurricane. In addition to those affected by Harvey, the threat of Hurricane Irma could wipe out gasoline demand if it impacts Florida this weekend as projected.

Besides for the hours of regulation, Florida has also suspended registration requirements for commercial and motor vehicles as well as waived the size and weight requirements for any vehicle transporting emergency equipment, services and supplies.

It’s important for truckers to be patient when delivering loads to these areas. The delivery locations may be crowded and unorganized, but helping out those in need by providing them with crucial supplies during tough times is rewarding. With potential victims in mind, the authorities are trying to be as prepared as possible when getting supplies to these areas affect by disaster.