Propane Emergency Orders are Widespread

Governors of most states in the eastern half of the United States have issued emergency orders to allow propane delivery drivers to be exempt from hours of service regulations during the second half of January.

The extent of the current cold snap is evident in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's online page listing states' emergency orders. Governors of most states in the eastern half of the country have issued emergency orders during the past two weeks that allow drivers to be exempt from hours of service regulations in order to deliver much-needed propane and heating fuels.

Texas' emergency order, signed Jan. 22 by Col. Steven C. McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, was issued in response to severe weather in Arkansas, Alabama, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, according to the order.

The declarations are only temporary suspensions and are limited to a maximum of 30 days, unless extended by FMCSA itself. They do not apply to CDL, drug and alcohol, hazardous materials, size and weight, or state/federal registration and tax requirements, although FMCSA notes a governor's declaration may add some of those exemptions. Even if an emergency declaration is in effect, the emergency must be ongoing and a driver must be providing direct emergency relief in order to be exempt from safety regulations, according to the agency.

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