FMCSA issues regional emergency declaration for Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas as Hurricane Laura gains strength

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued exemptions for motor carriers and drivers who are providing direct assistance to states affected by Hurricane Laura and Tropical Storm Marco.

WASHINGTON — The regional field administrators for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Southern and Western service centers have declared a regional emergency for the states of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas in response to Hurricane Laura and Tropical Storm Marco.

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Under the regional emergency declaration, motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance to the weather emergency in these states are granted relief from Parts 390 through 399 of Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/title49/b/5/3), with certain restrictions.

“Direct assistance” includes supporting emergency relief efforts by transporting supplies, goods, equipment and fuel into the affected states; transporting people into and from the affected states; or providing other assistance in the form of emergency services during the emergency situation created by Hurricane Laura and Tropical Storm Marco.

Upon termination of direct assistance to these emergency relief efforts, the motor carrier and driver are subject to the requirements of 49 CFR Parts 390 through 399 — but a driver may return empty to the motor carrier’s terminal or the driver’s normal work reporting location without complying with Parts 390 through 399. 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.

FMCSA notes that the emergency declaration does not offer exemption from controlled substance/alcohol use and testing requirements, commercial driver’s license requirements, insurance requirements, hazardous material regulations, applicable size and weight requirements, or any other regulations not specifically authorized pursuant to 49 CFR § 390.23.

Motor carriers or drivers that are currently subject to an out-of-service order are not eligible for the relief granted by this declaration until they have met the applicable conditions for its rescission and the order has been rescinded by FMCSA.

The declaration will continue for the duration of the emergency (as defined in 49 CFR § 390.5) or until 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Sept. 23, whichever occurs first.

Click here to read FMCSA’s declaration.

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