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FMCSA Regional Emergency Declaration

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Hours of Service Restrictions Suspended for Hurricane Ida Emergency Relief

On August 29th, Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana bringing winds reaching 150mph. The storm spread across Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. In it’s wake, Hurricane Ida has let millions without power and in need of emergency assistance.

In response, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Southern and Western Service Centers have issued a regional emergency declaration. Under the declaration, commercial vehicle (cmv) drivers who are directly involved in critical relief efforts in the “Affected States” (Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas) are granted emergency relief from maximum driving time outlined in 49 CFR Part 395.3 and Part 395.5.

The exemption for hours of service is only applicable while:

  • providing direct assistance, supporting emergency relief efforts in the Affected States
  • transporting supplies, goods, equipment, and fuel into the Affected States,
  • transporting persons into and from the Affected States
  • providing other assistance in the form of emergency services during the emergency related to Hurricane Ida in the Affected States

Direct assistance terminates when the CMV is used for interstate commerce to provide services not in support the relief efforts in the Affected States. This does not include the driver’s return with an empty vehicle to the motor carrier’s terminal or normal work reporting location.  

The exemption will be effective until September 28th or until the end of the emergency, whichever is met first.

Despite the exemption, motor carriers shall not require or permit fatigued drivers to operate a commercial motor vehicle. If a driver informs a carrier, that immediate rest is needed, the driver must be given at least ten (10) consecutive hours before being required to return to service. If total driver time during emergency relief efforts is 14 or more hours, the driver must take a mandatory 10 hour break.

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