Hurricane Sandy Affects Trucking | Hours of Service Suspended
by Apex Capital | October 31, 2012
Hours of Service Suspended Until November 13
The economic toll of Hurricane Sandy is yet to be determined as is the impact of Sandy on the trucking industry. Hurricane Katrina, a category 5 storm, had immediate and lasting impacts on the trucking industry. Sandy, a category 1 hurricane with a mind of its own, has closed down roads, rails and cargo container operations.
Who is Exempt
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has published a declaration of regional emergency. Commercial vehicles carrying emergency-related materials to and in states affected by Hurricane Sandy are exempt from the federal hours of service rules effective Monday, October 29 until 11:59 pm EST November 12, 2012. States included in the exemption are Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.
The official Declaration of Regional Emergency Notice CFR 49 Part 390.23 will be online. To use the waiver, drivers must carry a copy of the declaration order with them and be only dispatched with a load of relief supplies.
The American Trucking Association is urging truck drivers to take precautions during this hurricane season. Bill Graves, the president and CEO of ATA says, “No trip, and no delivery, is worth putting yourself or others in harm’s way.” Graves recommends that in order to ensure truck driver safety, drivers should plan ahead and follow the evacuation instructions of local, state and federal authorities.
Truck deliveries are necessary during natural disasters; in preparation for the storm and in order to deliver life’s essentials after the storm passes. Freight haulers bring necessary food, water, fuel, and other critical relief supplies to people in need. At times this is a difficult and risky decision, jeopardizing a driver’s health, property, and safety as well as drivers compliance with hours of service regulations.
HOS regulations say that the maximum driving time for property-carrying vehicles is a, “(2) 14-hour period. A driver may drive only during a period of 14 consecutive hours after coming on duty following 10 consecutive hours off duty. The driver may not drive after the end of the 14-consecutive-hour period without first taking 10 consecutive hours off duty.” In an emergency situation, hours of service regulations do not change, but truck drivers’ priorities might.
If the correct paperwork is filed in the allotted time, there is an automatic HOS exemption if an authorized government official issues a declaration of an emergency and the motor carrier is providing direct relief to the protection of human life or public welfare. Federal regulations – CFR 49 Part 390.23 – allow the temporary lifting of certain safety regulations for any motor carrier or driver providing direct assistance in relief during a declared emergency including waiving the HOS regulations for drivers. Click here to view the extension of relief from regulations.
Truckers in an evacuation area seeking information on whether an HOS moratorium is in effect should contact an FMCSA regional service center. The phone number is 404-327-7400. This agency will be valuable in determining whether hours-of-service waivers have been issued for any of the states you may be hauling in.
If you’re hauling freight in a natural disaster area please take the necessary precautions and heed government and press warnings about the situation. Trucks are vital in these situations and locals need them to arrive safely with critical hurricane relief supplies.