H.O.S. Suspended For Fuel Haulers in 17 States After Cyber Attack Forces Major Pipeline to Shut Down

Washington D.C. – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued an Emergency Declaration suspending hours of service (HOS) regulations for fuel haulers providing relief in 18 states over concerns of a possible fuel shortage following the unexpected shut down of a major pipeline late last week.

On Friday, Colonial Pipeline, the largest U.S. refined products pipeline operator, was forced to shut down after it was hacked via a ransomware attack by what authorities believe was a professional cybercriminal group known as “DarkSide.”




 

According to a report by Reuters, the hackers took more than 100 gigabytes of data during the attack.

Colonial’s more than 5,500-mile (8,850 km) pipeline network from Texas to New Jersey delivers roughly 100 million gallons per day of gasoline and other fuels from refiners on the Gulf Coast to consumers in the mid-Atlantic and southeastern U.S.

On Sunday, Colonial said its main fuel lines remain offline but some smaller lines between terminals and delivery points are now operational.

However, experts fear a prolonged outage would trigger a widespread fuel shortage and require tankers to transport fuels from the U.S. Gulf Coast to East Coast ports further burdening the supply and distribution chain.




 

In response to these concerns, the FMCSA said it was suspending HOS for fuel haulers providing “direct assistance” to the relief efforts in 18 states.

“This Declaration addresses the emergency conditions creating a need for immediate transportation of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products and provides necessary relief,” the Agency’s Emergency Declaration states.

The FMCSA’s Emergency Declaration includes the following Affected States: Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.




 

The Agency noted the Declaration is NOT an exemption from other requirements such as those pertaining to controlled substances and alcohol use and testings, commercial driver’s licenses, motor carriers’ financial responsibility (insurance), hazardous materials, as well as applicable size and weight regulations.


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The Declaration is effective immediately and will remain in effect until the end of the emergency or until 11:59 p.m. ET, June 8, 2021, whichever is earlier, the Agency said.

Further, the FMCSA stated it will “continually review the status of this Emergency Declaration and may take action to modify or terminate the Emergency Declaration sooner if conditions warrant.”

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