FMCSA issues winter storm emergency declaration

February 18, 2021

Land Line Staff

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued a winter storm emergency declaration that gives regulatory relief for motor carriers providing direct assistance to 33 states and the District of Columbia.

Under the emergency declaration that was issued Wednesday, Feb. 17, motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance to the emergency in the affected states related to the severe winter storm are granted relief from Parts 390 through 399 of Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations.

“This emergency declaration provides for regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations while 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 affected states, or providing other assistance in the form of emergency services during the emergency in the affected states from severe winter storms,” FMCSA wrote.

The affected states and jurisdictions include:

  • 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.
  • Wyoming.

Explaining the declaration

According to the FMCSA, 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.

When direct assistance is terminated, the motor carrier and driver are subject to the requirements in Parts 390 through 399, except that a driver may return empty to the motor carrier’s terminal or the driver’s normal work reporting location without complying.

FMCSA said that when a driver is transitioning 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 went into effect immediately and will remain in effect until the emergency ceases or March 4, whichever comes first. LL

TBS