FMCSA suspends hours of service regulations for West Coast wildfire relief haulers

wildfire hours of service emergency

On Thursday, September 10, 2020 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued an emergency declaration for Washington, Oregon, and California due to the current wildfires sweeping the West Coast, which will last the duration of the emergency or until October 19.

The Extension of the Emergency Declarations addresses ongoing emergency conditions creating a need for immediate transportation of supplies, goods, equipment, fuel and persons that are providing necessary relief.

The emergency declaration grants relief from Parts 390 through 399, suspending hours of service regulations for carriers and drivers providing direct assistance to the wildfire emergency region.

 

Low Air Quality Due To Wildfire Smoke

For the last 6 days, wildfire smoke stretches across most of the region and is expected to be hazardous or severe for the next few days.

The wildfire smoke is causing low visibility and poor air quality in the region, the worst in the world. It is important to wear masks if outside and to circulate air in the cab to prevent much of the smoke from entering the truck.

If ash is on the road, beware of harsh braking as it can be very slippery.

Emergency Declaration Restrictions & Limitations

Motor carriers and drivers must continue to comply with the following Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) and conditions:

  • 49 CFR § 392.2 related to the operation of a commercial motor vehicle in accordance with State laws and regulations, including compliance with applicable speed limits and other traffic restrictions.
  • 49 CFR § 392.3 related to the operation of a commercial motor vehicle while a driver’s ability or alertness is so impaired, or so likely to become impaired, through fatigue, illness, or any other cause, as to make it unsafe for him/her to begin or continue to operate the motor vehicle.
  • Motor carriers shall not require or allow fatigued drivers to operate a commercial motor vehicle. A driver who informs a carrier that he/she needs immediate rest shall be given at least ten consecutive hours before the driver is required to return to service.
  • 49 CFR §§ 392.80 and 392.82 related to the prohibitions on texting while driving and using a hand-held mobile telephone while driving.
  • A motor carrier whose driver is involved in a crash while operating under this Extension of the Emergency Declarations must report any recordable crash within 24 hours, by phone or in writing, to the FMCSA Division Office where the motor carrier is domiciled. The carrier must report the date, time, location, driver, vehicle identification, and brief description of the crash.
  • Drivers are required to comply with the portions of 49 CFR Part 395 related to the preparation, retention and accuracy of a driver’s record of duty status (RODS). Drivers are directed to note “Emergency Declaration” in the remarks section of the RODS to identify that their operation is in direct assistance to the emergency relief.
  • Nothing in the this Extension of the Emergency Declarations shall be construed as an exemption from the controlled substance and alcohol uses and testing requirements (49 CFR Part 382), the commercial driver’s license requirements (49 CFR Part 383), the financial responsibility (insurance) requirements (49 CFR Part 387), the hazardous material regulations (49 CFR Parts 100-180), applicable size and weight requirements, or any other portion of the regulations not specifically exempted under 49 CFR § 390.23.
  • Motor carriers or drivers currently subject to an out-of-service order are not eligible for the relief granted by this Extension of the Emergency Declarations until they have met the applicable conditions for its rescission and the order has been rescinded by FMCSA in writing.
  • Direct assistance terminates when a driver or commercial motor vehicle is used in interstate commerce to transport cargo or provide services that are not in support of emergency relief efforts or when the motor carrier dispatches a driver or commercial motor vehicle to another location to begin operations in commerce. (49 CFR § 390.23(b)). Upon termination of direct assistance to emergency relief efforts, the motor carrier and driver are subject to the requirements of 49 CFR Parts 390 through 399, except that a driver may return empty to the motor carrier’s terminal or the driver’s normal work reporting location without complying with Parts 390 through 399. When a driver is moving from emergency relief efforts to normal operations a 10-hour break is required when the total time a driver operates conducting emergency relief efforts, or a combination of emergency relief and normal operations, equals 14 hours.

Road Closures

Be sure to monitor traffic and road closures on your route that may increase your travel time.

There may be closures due to normal construction, as well as closures related to wildfires that may be meant to direct you away from high risk areas.

If driving through Portland, Oregon, a nine-day closure of the northbound span of the I-5 Interstate Bridge began Saturday, Sept. 12, with crews replacing mechanical parts that help lift and lower the I-5 bridge.


FMCSA extends and expands Emergency HOS Declaration to Dec 31


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended and expanded its emergency declaration providing regulatory relief to truck drivers who are transporting emergency supplies during the coronavirus outbreak.

This is the sixth extension, which will now last through Dec. 31.

The original declaration was put in place on March 13 and was most previously set to expire Sept. 14.

The FMCSA’s declaration grants exemption from Parts 390-399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. This includes hours of service (HOS), parts and accessories needed for safe operation, and longer combination vehicles.

The FMCSA notice states that, “Because emergency conditions have not abated, FMCSA is extending [the] emergency declaration and associated regulatory relief.” “This extension of the emergency declaration addresses national emergency conditions that create a need for immediate transportation of essential supplies, equipment and persons, and provides necessary relief from the FMCSRs for motor carriers and drivers engaged in the transport of essential supplies, equipment and persons.”

In addition to extending the time frame for the declaration, the notice also expands on the already once expanded HOS exemption list, adding the transportation of liquefied gases used in refrigeration or cooling systems.

The first expansion to the HOS emergency declaration offering relief for drivers providing direct assistance in support of emergency efforts to meet immediate needs for:

  • Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.
  • Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants.
  • Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.
  • Immediate precursor raw materials, such as paper, plastic or alcohol, that are required and to be used for the manufacture of essential items.
  • Fuel.
  • Equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing or quarantine.
  • Persons designated by federal, state or local authorities for medical, isolation or quarantine purposes.
  • Persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services.

The FMCSA has made it very clear that the emergency declaration does not change any traffic or safety laws drivers are expected to abide by, such as speed limits. Drivers are also still required to continue following FMCSA rules and requirements related to commercial driver licenses, drugs and alcohol, hazardous materials, size, weight and registration requirements.

Motor carriers are not allowed to force or even authorize a fatigued driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle. In an instance where a driver makes it known to a carrier that he or she needs rest, the driver must be given at least 10 consecutive hours before returning to service.

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.

FMCSA expands HOS exemption list

COVID-19 expands HOS exemption to Dec 31

We are continuing to monitor the COVID-19 (coronavirus) and we will work to update you with any important updates that we belive are necessary for you, our clients, to know. 

The FMCSA’s expanded declaration, which now lasts until Dec 21, 2020, provides for regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts intended to meet immediate needs for: 

  • Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.
  • Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants.
  • Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.
  • Immediate precursor raw materials—such as paper, plastic or alcohol—that are required and to be used for the manufacture of essential items.
  • Fuel.
  • Liquefied gases to be used in refrigeration or cooling systems.
  • Equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine, and isolation facilities related to COVID-19.
  • Persons designated by federal, state or local authorities for medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes.
  • Persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services, , the supply of which may be affected by the COVID-19 response.

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.

Short-haul exemption: 100 air-mile radius


Are you 100 air-mile exempt?

What is an air mile?

An “air mile” is a nautical mile measuring a straight distance between two points, excluding any twists or turns.

What is the short-haul exemption?

If you are a short-haul driver or fleet, there are several short-haul exemptions, including time restrictions, as well as distance related exemptions, which are the 100 air-mile exemption and the 150 air-mile exemption.

100 air-mile exemption

The exemption applies to CDL drivers and to qualify they must:

  • remain operating within a 100 air-mile radius
  • return to the same work reporting location
  • go off duty within 12 hours, and
  • keep time cards with start and end times and total hours worked daily

150 air-mile exemption

This exemption is slightly different in that it applies to non-CDL drivers and instead of the operating radius being 100 air-miles, it is 150 air-miles.

Similarly, drivers are required to:

  • keep timecards
  • return to the same work reporting location, and
  • only drive in states not requiring a CDL for their vehicle.

Further ELD Questions? Get a Free Demo

Contact us with any questions. Our ELD specialists can perform a demo with our ELD devices.

Exceeding the short-haul limitation

A driver may violate the short-haul limitations by going over the radius limit or exceeding the time it takes to return to their reporting location.

If this happens, drivers are required to maintain a Record of Duty Status (RODS) and more importantly, if they maintain a RODS for more than 8 days in a 30-day period, they must have an ELD because the mandate exemption does not apply after that 8 days.

The 8-day rule is one of the biggest issues for any short-haul fleet because they are unable to determine if they will hit that 8-day limitation. It is important to note that it is nearly impossible to implement an ELD on short notice, therefore, many questionable short-haul fleets are beginning to install ELDs.

Verifying compliance?

If you have drivers that are exempt, it is imperative that you check time records to verify compliance with time and distance restrictions.

If a driver is in violation, you must also verify that they followed proper procedure by taking a 30-minute break and submitting their daily log.

If your company is audited and you or your drivers are found to be misusing these exemptions, you will be cited for each violation every day it occurred which can lead to a rather large fine.

ELDs and short-haul exemptions

In most cases, a driver that qualifies for the 100 or 150 air mile radius is exempt from the upcoming ELD mandate, but there are exceptions.

The final regulation says if you are running short haul, you are not required to maintain Record of Duty Status (RODS) and, therefore, do not need to log your hours with an ELD, unless you break the rule more than eight (8) times in a 30-day rolling period.

If you do break the rule more than eight times, you will need an ELD to log your hours until you get back to the number of eight or fewer in a 30-day period.

Although not always required, ELDs can be an excellent resource for a short-haul fleet. Constant awareness of a driver’s distance, eliminating any concerns of going beyond the radius limit, and monitoring driver scorecards are just two of many benefits.

Need an ELD? We offer Pedigree ELD solutions


Stay DOT compliant

Staying knowledgeable on FMCSA rules and regulations will allow you to stay DOT compliant and plan your operations more efficiently.

All CNS services are geared toward keeping your trucking company safe, compliant, and on the road.

If you have any questions, call 888.260.9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

HOS short-haul exemptions and HOS compliance


What are short-haul exemptions?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) developed several Hours-of-Service rules and regulations with a goal for these HOS rules to minimize driver fatigue and improve road safety for everyone.

However, the FMCSA has created certain exemptions giving drivers and carriers flexibility, depending on their situation. Different rules apply to passenger-carrying drivers, property-carrying drivers and drivers of hazardous materials.

Considering all of the potential HOS changes and so we are on the same page, we will discuss a few important Hours-of-Service rules, including the 14-hour rule, the 11-hour rule and the 30-minute break.

What are 3 important hours-of-service rules?

  • The 14-hour rule?

The 14-hour rule disallows a property-carrying driver from driving longer than 14 consecutive hours after starting duty. The driver cannot continue driving until they have taken ten (10) consecutive hours off-duty.

Passenger-carrying motor vehicles are limited to 15 cumulative hours. This differs from the 14 consecutive hours of property-carrying drivers.

For both property-carrying and passenger-carrying vehicles, off-duty time does not extend the 14-hour period.

  • The 11-hour rule?

The 11-hour rule states that property-carrying drivers are allowed a maximum of 11 hours of drive time after 10 consecutive hours off duty, if they stay within the 14-hour window.

On the other hand, passenger-carrying drivers can drive up to 10 hours after eight consecutive hours off duty.

  • The 30-minute break rule?

According to the 30-minute break rule, drivers can’t log driving time if eight hours have passed since the last off-duty period of 30 consecutive minutes. Drivers can perform non-driving tasks after eight hours without taking a break, but they cannot drive.

Are you a short-haul driver?

The FMCSA rules and regulations state that you are a short-haul driver, if:

  • Start and return to the same location within twelve (12) hours of duty time.
  • Maintain your time-clock function.
  • Do not drive for more than eleven (11) hours.
  • Have ten (10) consecutive hours in off duty between shifts.
  • Operate within a 100 air-mile radius from your starting location (CDL driver)
  • Operate within a 150 air-mile radius (non-CDL drivers)
  • Does not drive through a state that requires a CDL for the vehicle they drive

The 16-hour short-haul exemption – Do you qualify?

The FMCSA implemented a hours of service exemption allowing short-haul drivers to extend their 14-hour driving window by two hours each week.

This could apply to you if you are a short-haul driver and report back to the same work location each day, you might be able to take advantage of the 16-hour short haul exemption.

The exemption doesn’t extend the 11-hour daily driving limit but does provide you with up to 16 hours to complete your workday.


Further ELD Questions? Get a Free Demo

Contact us with any questions. Our ELD specialists can perform a demo with our ELD devices.

ELDs and short-haul exemptions

In most cases, a driver that qualifies for the 100 or 150 air mile radius is exempt from the upcoming ELD mandate, but there are exceptions.

The final regulation says if you are running short haul, you are not required to maintain Record of Duty Status (RODS) and, therefore, do not need to log your hours with an ELD, unless you break the rule more than eight (8) times in a 30-day rolling period.

If you do break the rule more than eight times, you will need an ELD to log your hours until you get back to the number of eight or fewer in a 30-day period.

Learn why ELDs can be an excellent resource for a short-haul fleet.


Stay DOT compliant

Knowing these rules and regulations will allow you to stay compliant and plan your operations more efficiently.

All CNS services are geared toward keeping your trucking company safe, compliant, and on the road.

If you have any questions, call 888.260.9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.