FMCSA declares regional emergency

January 19, 2023

SJ Munoz


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has declared a regional emergency for eight states following the closure of a Colorado refinery and severe winter weather combined with high demand.

On Dec. 24, the Suncor Refinery in Commerce City, Colo., unexpectedly shut down because of “extreme and record-setting weather,” according to a company news release. In addition, the refinery isn’t expected to resume full operations until “late Q1 2023,” Suncor announced.

These factors have resulted in difficulty in obtaining necessary gasoline, diesel and jet fuel in the affected states, said the FMCSA emergency order.

“The declaration addresses the emergency conditions creating a need for immediate transportation of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel and provides necessary relief,” the order said.

Affected states: Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.

Under the FMCSA order, motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts are granted relief from the maximum driving time for property-carrying vehicles. Direct assistance means transportation and other relief services provided by a motor carrier or its driver incident to the immediate restoration of essential supplies or services, according to the order.

The following conditions for motor carriers and drivers operating under this order exist:

  • Nothing in this declaration shall be construed as a waiver of or exemption from any applicable requirements or any portion of the Federal Motor Carrier Regulations.
  • Motor carriers or drivers subject to an out-of-service order are not eligible for this relief until that order has been rescinded in writing by the issuing jurisdiction.
  • Direct assistance terminates when a driver or commercial motor vehicle is used in interstate commerce to transport cargo or provide services that are not in support of emergency relief efforts, or when the motor carrier dispatches a driver or commercial motor vehicle to another location to begin operations in commerce.
  • When a driver is moving from emergency relief efforts to normal operations, a 10-hour break is required when the total time a driver is engaged in emergency relief efforts, or in a combination of emergency relief and normal operations, equals or exceeds 14 hours.

FMCSA’s regional emergency shall remain in effect through Feb. 15. However, the agency may take action to modify, extend or terminate the declaration if conditions warrant. LL

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