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Fuel Shortages Prompt FMCSA to Declare Emergency in More Than 30 States

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Washington D.C. – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued an Emergency Declaration for more than 30 states and the District of Columbia due to widespread fuel shortages and damage caused by extreme winter weather.

“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 Agency said in an announcement late Wednesday.

Effective immediately, FMCSA has suspended certain Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) including federal hours of service (HOS) rules for motor carriers directly engaged in relief efforts to areas negatively impacted by ongoing winter storms.

According to the Agency, the Emergency Declaration specifically applies to carriers “providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts transporting 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.”

States and jurisdictions (Affected States) included 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.

 

Once again, FMCSA said “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.

Further, the Agency pointed out that 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 Declaration will remain in effect until the end of the emergency or until 11:59 P.M. (ET), March 4, 2021, whichever is earlier, the Agency informed.



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