FMCSA Suspends Hours of Service in Eight States to Speed Hurricane Relief Efforts
Washington D.C. – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has expanded its Regional Emergency Declaration in response to Tropical Storm Marco and Hurricane Laura.
Last week, the U.S. Gulf Coast was battered by Category 4 Hurricane Laura.
The major storm made landfall early Thursday morning and ripped a path of destruction through wide portions of Louisiana and Texas.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards called Laura the most powerful hurricane to ever strike the state even surpassing Hurricane Katrina, which was a Category 3 storm when it hit in 2005.
He said Friday that officials now believe the storm surge was as high as 15 feet.
As Laura continued inland it dumped heavy rains on Arkansas and much of the Missouri Valley.
According to the Associated Press, the U.S. death toll from Laura now stands at 16 with more than half of those killed by carbon monoxide poisoning from the unsafe operation of generators.
In response to the devastation, the FMCSA expanded its Regional Emergency Declaration to eight states, which are: Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas.
“This Declaration addresses the emergency conditions creating a need for immediate transportation of supplies, goods, equipment, fuel and persons and provides necessary relief,” the FMCSA said.
Last week, the FMCSA is suspended certain Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) including hours of service (HOS) rules for carriers involved in direct relief assistance.
As was the case in the initial Declaration, the Agency once again pointed out that direct assistance terminates when “a driver or commercial motor vehicle is used in interstate commerce to transport cargo or provide services not in support of emergency relief efforts related to Hurricanes or Tropical Storms Laura and Marco, or when the motor carrier dispatches a driver or commercial motor vehicle to another location to begin operations in commerce.”
The expanded Declaration will remain in effect for the duration of the emergency or through September 23, 2020, whichever is less.