Many truckers faced a dilemma in past hurricane seasons: Violate HOS and get out of Dodge, or comply with the regs and get stuck in the middle of a dangerous storm.
While it would seem that logic would kick in at some point and truckers would be allowed to save their hides, just like people living in the area, it hasn’t always worked out that way. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association fielded a number of questions and took a few complaints on this very subject dating back to the landfalls of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
There is an automatic HOS exemption if an authorized government official issues a declaration of an emergency and the motor carrier is providing direct relief to the protection of human life or public welfare.
Specifically, federal regulations – CFR 49 Part 390.23 – allow the temporary lifting of certain safety regulations for any motor carrier or driver providing direct assistance in relief during a declared emergency. This includes easing the HOS regulations for drivers.
The spokesman said truckers in an evacuation area wanting info on whether an HOS moratorium is in effect should contact an FMCSA regional service center.
At this time, states that are likely to be threatened by Hurricane Sandy are those that are handled through the Eastern Service Center, located in Glen Burnie, MD. Its territory includes Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont and West Virginia. It can be reached – providing the office is staffed – at 443-703-2240.
Additional affected states are handled by the Southern Service Center in Atlanta, GA. Those states include Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. The phone number is 404-327-7400. This phone number will be valuable in determining whether hours-of-service waivers have been issued for any of the states in the southern region.
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