FMCSA issues 33 state emergency declaration due to fuel shortages

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued an emergency declaration in response to a deadly and damaging winter storm that has crippled many parts of the country and caused fuel shortages.

The emergency declaration was issued late on Wednesday, February 17 “in response to damage and heating and other fuel shortages from severe winter storms in the Affected States.” It will remain in effect until the end of the emergency or March 4, 2021, whichever happens sooner.

The waiver grants motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance to the emergency in the affected states in direct support of relief efforts related to the severe winter storm with relief from Parts 390 through 399 of Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations, which includes Hours of Service requirements.

“This Declaration addresses the emergency conditions creating a need for immediate transportation of persons, supplies, goods, equipment, heating fuels, including propane, natural gas, and heating oil, and other fuel products, including gasoline, and provides necessary relief,” the FMCSA stated.

The FMCSA’s action specifically provides relief for truck drivers who are hauling supplies, goods, equipment, heating fuels, including propane, natural gas, and heating oil, and other fuel products including gasoline into the affected states, and transporting persons into and from the affected states, or providing other assistance in the form of emergency services during the emergency in the Affected States from severe winter storms.

The FMCSA specifies that “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 related to the severe winter storm, or when the motor carrier dispatches a driver or commercial motor vehicle to another location to begin operations in commerce.  Upon termination of direct assistance to emergency relief efforts related to the severe winter storms in the Affected States, the motor carrier and driver are subject to the requirements of 49 CFR Parts 390 through 399, except that a driver may return empty to the motor carrier’s terminal or the driver’s normal work reporting location without complying with Parts 390 through 399.  When a driver is moving from emergency relief efforts to normal operations a 10-hour break is required when the total time a driver operates conducting emergency relief efforts, or a combination of emergency relief and normal operation, equals 14 hours.”

The states affected by the waiver are Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.  

You can click here to view the emergency declaration.