Elaine L. Chao the Secretary of U.S. Department of Transportation has directed FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) to provide the following states with Regional Emergency Declaration before Hurricane Irma:
North and South Carolina
the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and
the territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands
Emergency Declarations will cause the temporary postponement of certain Federal safety regulations for drivers and motor carriers who are included in certain aspects of the emergency relief, including direct support for the instant restoration of important services (sewer, water, electrical and telecommunications) or important supplies (for instance, water, food, fuel as well as medical supplies).
Secretary Chao told: “I have directed all USDOT modal administrations to take immediate, proactive steps in preparation for the impending landfall of this very powerful, and very dangerous hurricane. As with Hurricane Harvey, the Department of Transportation will continue to work closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other Federal and State entities to provide every resource available for areas impacted by Hurricane Irma.”
Drivers and transporters must follow these rules throughout the respite from FMCSA regulations:
- Those drivers who are responsible to provide direct support to an “emergency” meet the definitions of 49 CFR 390.5. FMCSA declared that they are released from the above-mentioned regulations in all States on their way to the emergency, no matter those States may be engaged in the emergency or stated in the emergency declaration or not.
- When in effect these exemptions apply only to 49 CFR Parts 390-399. They don’t exempt carriers/drivers from the requirements linking to CDL, hazardous materials, drug/alcohol, weight, and size or state registration and tax requirements.
- The emergency must be continuing and you should provide direct emergency support in order to be eligible to be exempted from safety regulations even if an Emergency Declaration is still in effect.
Regional Emergency Declaration of FMCSA continues to exist for Hurricane Harvey. A special web page was created by the agency – https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/harvey – comprising resources, links as well as information for commercial motor vehicle drivers and carriers. Extra content will be added frequently.
https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/irma – a second web page – has been created recently as well. It covers resources, information, and links for commercial motor vehicle drivers and carriers. Further content will be added regularly.