More emergency extensions in Iowa

December 22, 2023

Land Line Staff


Iowa has extended bird flu emergency declarations for two counties, as well as its statewide harvest proclamation.

The state began issuing bird-flu-related emergencies in late October, with seven counties ultimately covered by the proclamations.

The most recent extension covers Sioux and Taylor counties and will remain in effect through Jan. 24.

In those counties, hours-of-service as well as certain weight requirements for commercial vehicles hauling loads related to the emergency response effort remain temporarily suspended.

  • No motor carrier operating under this order shall require or allow a fatigued or ill driver to operate a motor vehicle.
  • A driver must be given at least 34 consecutive hours off duty when the driver has been on duty for more than 70 consecutive hours in an eight-day span.
  • Motor carriers with an active out-of-service order may not take advantage of this relief.
  • Loads cannot exceed 90,000 pounds gross weight or the legal maximum axle weight of 20,000 pounds.
  • Commercial vehicles must comply with posted weight limits on roads and bridges.

Harvest emergency

First enacted in September, Iowa’s harvest proclamation was extended in October and again in November before the most recent extension this week.

The emergency is now in effect until Jan. 11.

Commercial vehicles transporting corn, soybeans, hay, straw, silage, stover, fertilizer and manure on all highways within Iowa are allowed to be overweight without a permit for the duration of this emergency.

This does not apply to the interstate system, and loads cannot exceed 90,000 pounds gross weight or the 20,000-pound maximum axle weight.

Emergency relief window

As of Dec. 12, FMCSA revised its emergency exemption rules to narrow the scope of regulatory relief granted when emergencies such as those in Iowa are issued.

According to FMCSA, “this (rule) ensures relief granted through emergency declarations is appropriate and tailored to the specifics of the circumstances and emergencies being addressed.”

A timeframe of just five days initially was sought as a baseline for such relief by FMCSA.

OOIDA formally filed its opposition when the final rule was announced, while North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum voiced his concerns on Land Line Now. LL

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