Six states get hours of service waiver as Ida makes landfall

A waiver for truck drivers supporting relief efforts tied to Hurricane Ida have been given a waiver from Hours of Service rules.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued the waiver Sunday afternoon for Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas, . The declaration was effective immediately. 

Under the emergency ruling, drive time caps are lifted for commercial vehicles under 49 CFR § 395.3 of the federal code, which covers hours of service. It covers truck drivers “providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts transportation supplies, goods, equipment and fuel into the (affected states.)”

“Direct assistance terminates when a driver or commercial motor vehicle is used in interstate commerce to transport cargo or provide services that are not in support of emergency relief efforts related to Hurricane Ida,” the waiver says. 

The waiver also covers section 395.5, which is for Hours of Service restrictions on passenger-carrying vehicles, such as buses. 

Under federal safety rules, commercial truck drivers are limited to 14 on-duty hours after 10 consecutive off-hours duty. 

The emergency waiver also covers the rule restricting drivers to 60 on duty hours in a 7-day period, or 70 hours in eight consecutive days. 

Drivers are not exempted from speed limits, requirements to pull off the road if their alertness is impaired due to fatigue or other reasons, texting while driving or using alcohol or drugs.There is no waiver on ELD requirements. 

Relief from the HOS rule is contingent upon providing what FMCSA refers to as “direct assistance.”

The waiver is in effect until either a declared end to the Ida-created emergency, or the end of the day on Sept. 28, whichever comes first. 

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