Feds waive hours of service for hurricane relief

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 10/31/2012

Recovering from Hurricane Sandy will take time and money in the Northeast U.S., and truckers will be doing their part by hauling relief supplies.

Hurricane Sandy has caused flooding and damage in 14 states since making landfall Monday.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration declared a regional emergency on the East Coast on Monday, which lasts through Nov. 12.

Under the declaration, interstate motor carriers hauling direct emergency relief are waived from hours-of-service requirements. The assistance must be direct, and the driver must carry a copy of the emergency declaration, according to the agency.

“This declaration of emergency provides relief for commercial motor vehicles operations while providing these emergency materials and services to customers in the above-mentioned states during the emergency,” FMCSA Regional Field Administrator Curtis L. Thomas stated.

“This exemption applies only to those operations providing direct assistance to the emergency relief effort. Direct assistance terminates when a driver or commercial motor vehicle is used in interstate commerce to transport cargo or provide services not destined for the emergency relief effort or when the motor carrier operation dispatches such driver or vehicle to another location to begin operations in furtherance of commerce.”

Affected states are Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.

The DOT’s Federal Highway Administration released $10 million to New York and $3 million to Rhode Island on Tuesday, saying the amount was 100 percent of what those states requested for emergency repairs to roads, bridges and sea walls.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood briefed state departments of transportation Tuesday about how to apply for “quick release” funds.

U.S. DOT offices in DC were open Wednesday, but only those employees essential to the relief effort were required to report.

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