The FMCSA clarifies the scope of safety regulation exemptions during emergencies

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What is the FMCSA final rule?

The new final rule from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) updated their emergency rule to specify which safety regulations can be exempt. Emergencies are now more narrowly defined, including what constitutes an emergency and under what circumstances, so road safety can be maintained while truck drivers provide relief.

What does this mean for truck drivers?

If your trucking company provides relief services during emergencies, certain standard safety regulations, like hours of service limits, may be altered.

However, the final rule also limits how many regulations can be lifted and/or altered during an emergency to maintain road safety. These new rules aim to preserve safety unless exceptions are specifically justified.

Unaltered rules usually include driver qualifications, vehicle inspections, parts and accessory requirements, and operating requirements. Waiving regulations with low scrutiny can be detrimental to road safety. These rules are typically maintained unless specific exemptions are made.

Which rules are exempt, and how long do they last?

The president can declare emergencies that trigger a 30-day Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) exemption from parts § 390 to 399.

Governors at the regional level, however, can only declare emergencies that trigger a 14-day FMCSR exemption. In this case, CMV drivers are only exempt from the hours of service regulation specified in §§ 395.3 and 395.5 rather than all regulations from § 390-399.

The bottom line

The final rule from the FMCSA balances the urgent need to provide relief during emergencies and maintain the safety of the road and its drivers. Staying aware of which regulations are waived will allow you to address emergencies while ensuring road safety. Learn more about our experience in transportation law.

Contact Larson & Gaston to learn more.

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