The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has exempted motor carriers and drivers involved in Hurricane Michael relief efforts in eight states from Hours of Service and other parts of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, or FMCSRs, in an extended regional emergency declaration.
“Catastrophic Hurricane Michael continues to intensify as it approaches the Florida Panhandle," AccuWeather Founder and President Dr. Joel N. Myers said Wednesday. "It is the strongest storm to hit the U.S., in terms of wind, since Hurricane Charley in 2004. It’s crucial to note that a 150-mph storm has four times the force of a 110-mph storm. Damage will be catastrophic within a 50-mile stretch of the coastline where the eye makes landfall, centered around Apalachicola Bay. It will look like a bomb or tsunami hit the area. We now believe that the coastline will cause the water to converge as high as 18-20 feet in isolated areas. This is moving water, which is extremely powerful. We’ve all seen pictures of what a tsunami can do. If people are still there and can still hear us, they need to do everything they can to survive.
The FMCSA declaration includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The Emergency Declaration, according to the FMCSA, is needed to address anticipated emergency conditions in the affected states and jurisdictions creating a need for immediate transportation of supplies, equipment and persons, and provides necessary relief.
The exemption covers Parts 390 through 399 of the FMCSRs, which includes HOS rules, general safety rules, maintenance requirements, and more.
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
- When the motor carrier dispatches a driver or commercial motor vehicle to another location to begin operations in commerce.