FMCSA extends hours of service after Ian

Hurricane Ian devastated Southwest Florida after making landfall on Sept. 28. Anticipating the need that would have to be met, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a Regional Declaration of Emergency. This not only affected Florida, but eight other states, as reported by Overdrive.

This Declaration of Emergency expired on Oct. 28, but the FMCSA quickly acknowledged that there is still an immense need for supplies and goods to be transported to Hurricane Ian’s victims. The agency has extended the hours-of-service waiver to continue the efforts in both Florida, and South Carolina, another U.S. state where Ian made landfall.

The agency has extended the waiver until Nov. 28; however, they have made an exception that if the emergency is over before that date, they will void the waiver.

Part 395.3 of the service hour regulations imposes a maximum number of hours a driver can operate their vehicle. The Regional Declaration of Emergency and its subsequent waiver exempts any driver who is providing support to victims of Hurricane Ian from this regulation. This was mandated so that victims can get the help they need, as quickly as possible.

In order for complete clarity, FMCSA released qualifications regarding what constitutes emergency support.

“… direct assistance does not include transportation related to long-term rehabilitation of damaged physical infrastructure or routine commercial deliveries, including mixed loads with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief added to obtain the benefits of this emergency declaration, after the initial threat to life and property has passed,” the agency stated.