Agency lifts hours of service rules for propane haulers in the South

| January 27, 2014

propane tankerJoining propane haulers in the Midwest and Eastern regions, propane haulers in the South are now temporarily exempt from federal hours-of-service regulations in light of cold temperatures and propane shortages around the country.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued the exemption Jan. 21, and it covers propane haulers in Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Oklahoma.

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It lasts until 11:59 on Feb. 11, and those operating under the exemption must have a copy of the FMCSA’s declaration with them. Click here to download it. 

The exemption “provides for the regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations while providing direct assistance supporting the delivery of propane and home heating fuels into the affected areas and consumers” in the region, the declaration reads. The exemption expires immediately when the truck is used to transport something other than propane loads “not directly supporting the emergency relief effort,” according to the declaration.

FMCSA issued the previous exemptions Jan. 19 in response to a letter from the National Propane Gas Association, saying propane shortages in the U.S. weren’t being caused by a propane supply problem but a problem in transportation and distribution.

The Midwest and Eastern region exemptions include Connecticut, D.C., Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, West Virginia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Exemptions in those states also expire Feb. 11.

Prior to the FMCSA-issued exemptions, states had been issuing their own waivers — another problem cited by the NPGA, who said the “patchwork” of waivers wasn’t doing enough to address the regional propane distribution problems.

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NPGA cited, along with the “polar vortex”-caused extreme temperatures, several reasons for the propane shortage, including a spike in demand for fuel for grain dryers due to a late and wet grain and corn harvest; a lack of storage in the Northeast; downtime for the Cochin Pipeline, which carries propane from Canada to the U.S.; and general change in energy flows in the U.S. and North America that have caused pipelines to be in a “state of transition,” NPGA says.

As with the other waivers, FMCSA’s declaration overrides any state exemptions previously issued.

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  • guest

    Huge Tanker Explosion today in New York…JP Noonan has ALERT STATUS on driver fitness.89%???? Comforting huh?? Countless accidents and Fatalities in past 2years….only the Best will drive???? Cops have driven OUT real truckers…now these clown companies employ Jackasses to drive…lol. Article says truck went “out of control” on route 7……pathetic.

  • Kendall Oakleaf

    What a Buncha BULLCHIT

  • Coffeeclue

    So propane drivers don’t get tired. It’s ok to haul something that can level a city block even if you’ve been on duty for more than 14 hours.

  • 001k

    so does this mean I can run more hours to pay for this $5.00 + a gallon propane

  • Dave Nichols

    so who will be held responsible when one of these drivers runs over someone? Yeah I thought so.

  • Athar Ali

    Double standard is being played. Wonder who will now be responsible when tired propane truck driver run over some four wheeler? All those safety concerns are temporarily suspended. Not fair!

  • easymoney

    It just shows ya that the FMCSA Has no clue what the
    trucking industry is all about, or what their doing.
    It’s still about the all mighty buck, green backs you can bet
    someone got paid off for that decision nothing is done
    in Washington without a greased palm for sure.
    Safety yeah right.

  • BunniRabbyt

    So now you have a liquid bomb running down the road over hours that Anne Ferro says she wont budge on. Double standard YES. Why not just move other drivers with tanker and Hazmat over to propane It is not that hard to be trained quickley I have hauled it. And I bet the rates are out of sight I always heard it paid well Just move more drivers to where they are needed just like we did when there was military deployment. Trucks were deverted to the need at hand. Unbelievable.

  • haller

    So the HM. propane tanker driver can drive 16 hr.per day and if I drive 11.75 hrs. per day I’m getting the ticket. Makes no sense to me, but those college people making up new rules know what they’re doing, they’re smart..

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