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Hurricane Sandy Prompts FMCSA To Issue Emergency HOS Exemptions


Declaration of Regional Emergency in Response to Hurricane Sandy

U.S. Department                                                                                                                         Eastern Service Center
of Transportation                                                                                                                        802 Cromwell Park Dr. Suite N
Federal Motor Carrier                                                                                                                Glen Burnie, Maryland 21061
Safety Administration

Pursuant to Title 49 CFR Part 390.23, I, Curtis L. Thomas, Regional Field Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, declare a regional emergency exists that justifies an exemption from Part 390 through 399 of the Federal Regulations (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations). Such emergency is in response to Hurricane Sandy and its possible effects on people and property, including an immediate threat to human life or public welfare in the Eastern United States.

The emergency exemption is issued as a result of extreme weather conditions, shortages, and interruptions in the availability and/or delivery and repair of services and property throughout the States affected in the Eastern Region to include the following: Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia. It is effective beginning October 29, 2012.

This declaration of emergency provides relief for commercial motor vehicles operations while providing these emergency materials and services to customers in the above mentioned states during the emergency. This exemption applies only to those operations providing direct assistance to the emergency relief effort. Direct assistance terminates when a driver or commercial motor vehicle is used in interstate commerce to transport cargo or provide services not destined for the emergency relief effort or when the motor carrier operation dispatches such driver or vehicle to another location to begin operations in furtherance of commerce.

Nothing contained in this declaration shall be construed as an exemption from the controlled substances and alcohol use and testing requirements (49 CFR Part 382), the commercial driver’s license requirements (49 CFR Part 383), the financial responsibility (insurance) requirements (49 CFR Part 387), applicable size and weight requirements, or any other portion of the regulations not specifically identified.

Motor carriers or drivers currently subject to an out-of-service order are not eligible for the exemption until the order expires or they have met the conditions for its rescission. Drivers for motor carriers operating under this declaration must have a copy of the declaration in their possession.

Consistent with Title 49 CFR Part 390.23, the emergency notice will remain in effect for the duration of the emergency (as defined in Title 49 CFR Part 390.5) or 15 days (11:59 P.M., EST, November 12, 2012) whichever is less.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is coordinating with the following states that issued Emergency Declarations in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy on the following dates:

Emergency Declarations by State (alphabetical order including date)

Emergency Declaration Information

To provide vital supplies and transportation services to a disaster area in the United States, emergency declarations may be issued by the President, Governors of States, or FMCSA. These declarations trigger the temporary suspension of certain Federal safety regulations, including Hours of Service, for motor carriers and drivers engaged in specific aspects of the emergency relief effort. See 49 CFR 390.23 for the actual emergency regulation.

Relief from Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations is limited to a maximum of 30 days, unless extended by FMCSA itself. In order to be in full compliance with all declarations, be sure to read the definitions of emergency and emergency relief.”

The information below reflects currently available relief. Refer to the frequently asked questions (FAQ) for more information.


  • These Federal exemptions, when in effect, only apply to 49 CFR Parts 390399. They do NOT apply to CDL, drug/alcohol, hazardous materials, size & weight, or State/Federal registration and tax requirements. (However, a Governor’s Declaration may add some of those exemptions—read the declaration for details.)
  • Even if an Emergency Declaration is still in effect, the emergency must be on-going and you must be providing direct emergency relief in order to be exempt from safety regulations.
  • The list of Emergency Declarations below may not be complete. Declarations may be in effect even if not listed here.
  • Drivers and carriers should coordinate with State and Federal emergency officials before providing assistance.
  • Even though safety regulations may be suspended, drivers and carriers are expected to use good judgment and not operate vehicles with fatigued or ill drivers, or under any conditions presenting a clear hazard to other motorists using the highways.

Rules Affected By Relief Efforts


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