As Florence looms, drivers providing relief in broad region exempted from HOS, safety rules

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has exempted motor carriers and drivers involved in Hurricane Florence relief efforts in 13 states and the District of Columbia from Hours of Service and other parts of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, or FMCSRs, in an extended regional emergency declaration.

The declaration includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The exemption covers Parts 390 through 399 of the FMCSRs, which includes HOS rules, general safety rules, maintenance requirements, and more.

“Such emergency is in response to Hurricane Florence and its anticipated effects on people and property, including the immediate threat to human life or public welfare from high winds, heavy rains, high surf, storm surge and flooding,” FMCSA stated in its announcement.

The exemption specifically applies to motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance for the emergency in the affected states and jurisdictions in direct support of relief efforts related to Hurricane Florence.

Providing “direct assistance” means:

—Supporting emergency relief efforts transporting supplies, equipment, fuel and people into and from the affected states and jurisdictions, or

—Providing other assistance in the form of emergency services during the emergency in the affected states and jurisdictions from Hurricane Florence.

The exemption no longer applies when:

—A driver or commercial motor vehicle is used in interstate commerce to transport cargo or to provide services not directly supporting the emergency relief effort, or