The North Dakota Governor is petitioning the federal government to reconsider new restrictions on Hour of Service waivers that cut the time limits in half.
The new rule allows a 30 day HOS waiver for emergencies declared by the president, but limits state-declared HOS waivers to 14 days. The new rule also limits which FMCSA regulations are automatically exempt under the state-issues waiver. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration finalized the new rule on October 15th after raising the proposed limit from 5 days to 14.
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum says that the rule change will “severely impact operations in North Dakota during emergencies and have a direct impact on all citizens of our great state.”
“This isn’t about letting truck drivers work longer hours in December so they can deliver enough toys to stores to make sure all the kids get Christmas presents,” Burgum said in a letter. “In North Dakota, the ability to waive hours of service quickly during an emergency without having to slog through a sea of bureaucratic red tape can literally mean the difference between life and death or the loss of someone’s livelihood. While we appreciate that FMCSA abandoned its five-day proposal, the 14-day waiver period is still too short, and we urge FMCSA to restore the 30-day waiver authority.”
Burgum has issued HOS waivers or waiver extensions 28 times since taking office in 2016. 19 of those waivers were for 30 days or more.
“As an agricultural state, these executive orders are carefully considered and determined necessary to combat significant winter storms, drought and staff shortages in the CDL industry that last longer than the 14-day anticipated change,” Burgum continued in the letter. “North Dakota heavily depends on CDL drivers, and as a rural state, it is critical that we be able to move products and get resources to where they are needed most.”
Burgum has officially opposed the rule change since February.