Truck Stop Operators Seek EMERGENCY HOS Waiver for Fuel Haulers
Washington D.C. – Arguing that fuel is a “key component of the supply chain,” the National Association of Truckstop Operators (NATSO) is asking the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) to grant emergency regulatory relief from the federal hours of service (HOS) regulations for fuel haulers.
NATSO is the only national trade association representing the travel plaza and truck stop industry.
It represents more than 1,700 travel plazas and truck stops nationwide, owned by over 200 corporate entities.
In a letter dated March 17, Lisa Mullings, CEO of NATSO, wrote to FMCSA Acting Administrator Jim Mullen, asking for the “transportation of fuel” to be included in the FMCSA’s historic Emergency Declaration which provided a 50-state HOS exemption for commercial vehicle drivers transporting emergency relief in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
“On March 13, 2020, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency in response to the impact COVID-19 is having on public health and safety in all fifty States and the District of Columbia,” Mullings wrote. “In conjunction with that declaration, the FMCSA issued a nationwide HOS Waiver for the transportation of essential supplies, but it did not include fuel. Fuel is a key component of the supply chain and therefore crucial to ensuring supplies reach their destination.”
Mullings said NATSO supports the FMCSA’s Emergency Declaration, but argues it needs to go further.
“Without access to fuel, however, manufacturers are unable to provide supplies to hospitals, businesses, and homes. Moreover, workers at essential businesses—including first responders and hospital workers—need fuel to get to their jobs. In addition, emergency response vehicles need uninhibited access to fuel.”
Mullings reported that some NATSO members are starting to “see consumers rush to the pumps, which can disrupt access to fuel for those who need it most.”
She asserted that a nationwide HOS Waiver for the transportation of fuel will “help mitigate a broader run on fuel.”
Finally, she argued that matters could go from bad to worse if truck drivers begin falling ill or be forced to quarantine.
“Losing drivers due to illness or quarantine will only amplify the shortage of drivers making a nationwide HOS Waiver for the transportation of fuel even more necessary,” she contended.
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NATSO was joined in its request by the National Association of Convenience Stores, National Association of Truckstop Operators, Petroleum Marketers Association of America, and Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America.
Read NATSO’s entire letter HERE.
The FMCSA has yet to respond.
FMCSA Demands Truck Stops Remain Open 24 Hours Per Day
Also on Tuesday, Transportation Nation Network (TNN) first reported that Acting FMCSA Administrator Jim Mullen sent Mullings a letter demanding NATSO’s more than 1,700 truck stop and travel plaza members “remain open 24 hours per day” to serve the needs of America’s truck drivers.
“In the coming weeks and months, it will be critical that these businesses remain open 24 hours per day, providing America’s truck drivers with fuel, food, showers, repair services and opportunities to rest,” he urged. “The continuing operations of America’s truck stops will enable truck drivers to confidently transport essential goods such as food and medical supplies throughout the country.”
READ more on the FMCSA’s demands of NATSO HERE.
TNN will continue to bring you the latest on these developing stories.