Today, two FMCSA field offices, one in the Midwest and one in the East, issued emergency declarations.

According to the FMCSA, Field Administrators in both areas issued the declarations in response to the “extreme cold experienced throughout Midwestern and Eastern states from the polar votex and the possible continuing efforts of the arctic cold on people and property, including an immediate threat to human life or public welfare.”

The emergency HOS exemption has been issued for drivers who are transporting heating fuel throughout Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Wisconsin, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont and West Virginia.

“This declaration provides for the regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicles operations while providing direct assistance supporting the delivery of propane and home heating fuels into the affected areas and consumers in the above mentioned states during the emergency. Direct assistance terminates when a driver or commercial motor vehicle is used in interstate commerce to transport cargo or provide services not directly supporting the emergency relief effort,” the FMCSA states. 

The FMCSA says that those carriers or drivers interested in providing services or need to understand FMCSA regulations, the following applies:

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.

The information below reflects currently available relief:

  1. These Federal exemptions, when in effect, only apply to 49 CFR Parts 390-399. 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.)
  2. 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.
  3. The list of Emergency Declarations below may not be complete. Declarations may be in effect even if not listed here.
  4. Drivers and carriers should coordinate with State and Federal emergency officials before providing assistance.
  5. 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.

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