Ten southeastern states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are included in an emergency declaration issued by trucking regulators as Hurricane Dorian approaches the east coast of Florida.
“This Emergency Declaration addresses anticipated emergency conditions creating a need for immediate transportation of supplies, equipment, fuel and persons and provides necessary relief,” according to a bulletin issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on August 29.
Affected states included in order are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Also included in the order are U.S. territories Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The order will exempt trucking companies and owner-operators from the agency’s hours-of-service (HOS) regulations to give available freight capacity more flexibility to provide supplies, equipment and fuel in response to the storm.
Once the emergency is lifted, drivers are subject to standard rest-break requirements. “However, if the driver informs the motor carrier that he or she needs immediate rest, the driver must be permitted at least 10 consecutive hours off duty before the driver is required to return to the motor carrier’s terminal or the driver’s normal reporting location,” according to the FMCSA. “Once the driver has returned to the terminal or other location, the driver must be relieved of all duty and responsibilities and must receive a minimum of 10 hours off duty if transporting property and eight hours if transporting passengers.”
The FMCSA’s emergency order follows in the wake of a state of emergency declared by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on August 28 for counties in the path of Dorian. According to the governor’s office, “By declaring a state of emergency, Governor DeSantis is ensuring that state and local governments have ample time, resources and flexibility to prepare.”
The National Weather Service anticipates the storm to make landfall on Florida’s east coast as a major hurricane sometime after September 1.