FMCSA Issued Regional Emergency Declaration

According to the Regional Field Administrators for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) Eastern, Midwestern, Southern, and Western Service Centers, some reasons require this Regional Declaration to be issued. It concerns the emergency and exemption from Parts 390 through 399 of the FMCSRs.

This Declaration applies to the following states: 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, and Wyoming.

The emergency arose due to winter storms in the states, as mentioned earlier. As a result, there is now damaged communication, a shortage of heating and other fuel. Thus, it became necessary to immediately transport essential goods, fuels of various types, and other crucial materials to states with an emergency. This Declaration simplifies specific procedures for drivers who are involved in the provision of assistance. 

The Regional Emergency Declaration states that drivers and automobile carriers who provide direct assistance to states affected by winter storms receive relief under Parts 390 through 399 of Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations. Relief does not apply to cases limited by the Declaration.

In addition to transporting essentials and fuel, emergency help also means transporting people to and from the affected states. It also includes the provision of other assistance, such as emergency services during extremal situations. Direct assistance ends when a driver or truck is used to transport goods or provide international trade services. In such cases, they do not provide emergency assistance to victims of winter storms, and the above exemption does not apply to them. Help also ends if the carrier sends the truck to another destination for commercial purposes. 

It is important to note that a 10-hour break is required when the driver changes from assisting to normal operations — provided that the total driver's working time (when providing emergency assistance or a combination of help and regular duties) is 14 hours. 

This Declaration does not mean an exemption from the control of alcohol and drugs, requirements for a commercial driver's license, financial responsibility, requirements for transporting hazardous materials, and oversized cargo. It also does not apply to drivers and companies who are currently suspended from work.

The Declaration entered into force on February 17 and is valid until March 4, 2021.

By Denis Kirston
24 / 02 / 2021
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