Hours rule waivers for propane haulers extended as Obama signs exemption bill

| March 24, 2014

propane truckPropane haulers in 36 states are exempt from federal hours-of-service regulations until May 31, as President Barack Obama signed a bill into law March 21 that extends waivers first granted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in February.

The bill is aimed at helping ease a nationwide shortage of propane and home heating fuels caused by a distribution hang-ups and an uptick in demand due to the winter’s severity. It also applies to drivers and carriers hauling other home heating fuels.

States included in the exemption are: Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, Oklahoma, 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, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota.

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FMCSA first issued Feb. 5 regional declarations exempting these states from HOS rules, but the agency can only issue waivers 30 days at a time, which “[create] uncertainty and limited relief,” said the bill’s House sponsor Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.).

Shuster then introduced the House version of the bill Feb. 25, grandfathering in for extension all states included in the Feb. 5 waivers.

The House passed the bill March 4, and the Senate cleared its version  March 14.

Per the one-page bill, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx can end the waivers on a state-by-state basis by working with governors in each state if the exemptions appear to no longer be necessary.

The National Propane Gas Association requested exemptions for propane haulers in January, citing as causes for the propane shortage a late and wet grain and corn harvest that caused a spike in demand for propane for fuel grain dryers; the “polar vortex” events that caused historically low temperatures in much of the country and a spike in demand; and an overall lack of propane storage in the Northeast, among some other factors.

The country’s propane supply is “more than adequate,” NPGA wrote, but propane suppliers were having trouble getting product to customers due to transportation and distribution.

  • Mike Smith

    Help me out here?

    So we have hrs of service rules, HOS, for safety, according to the corrupted, lying, gov SOB’s; and now businesses, that move one of the most dangerous commodities out there, are EXEMPT.

    How #^c& does this make any sense?????????????

  • Stupified Trucker

    I thought the HOS was for safety purposes. I guess propane is a safe commodity to haul! There is a trucker shortage so how come the HOS are not exempt until they find more idiots to drive a truck. I’m sure there must be more. You would have to be an idiot to drive a truck in this days trucking world. I know a guy personally who owns a small fleet of trucks and he can’t find drivers so you know what he did? You ready? Here it is. He was paying $18 per hour so now he pays $15 per hour. I don’t get it. Is he stupid or is it me? He asked me to drive for him; you can imagine what I said. I have hung up my keys a year ago and he wants me back. WOW

  • Spence

    And to think that they are wanting to force everyone to have an ELD. All in the name of safety of course, or so they say. I guess livestock, hay, and grain are extremely dangerous.

  • Thundah

    Its not about safety, its about control.

  • BrunoK

    Chalk one up for the propane lobbyists I guess. Just another example of Federal discrimination aimed and armed by special interests. The whole safety thing is about control anyway – not safety. Apparently the function of DC is to enable special interest favoritism with absolutely zero Constitutional oversight by anyone. It’s difficult to stay sane as an American citizen today – and free? Well, forget that!

  • jimmyc63

    I thought they exempted bull haulers from HOS regs also? The HOS regs are bullshit enough.

  • Spence

    They might have done, I don’t know. I’m not a bull hauler myself. The way they jack the rules and regulations around all the time I can’t keep it all straight and I don’t see how anyone else can.

  • Mike Smith

    Our government has turned its self into some kind of New Modern Nazis party. They don’t use violence to terrorize us. (They use a Passive Attack approach. A psychological attack). Instead they inundate us with laws and television PROPAGANDA that makes what they do seem to be justice. Even though it is an assault on our Bill of Rights; IE. piss tests, stopping our trucks without cause, etc..

  • Joseph J Deskiewicz

    this is our government putting their hand in everything. Get rid of them all! I’m a truck driver and I would like my hours of service waived. GET MORE PROPANE TRUCKS AND DRIVERS YOU MORONS!

  • jimmyc63

    It seems to me that the Grand Plan is….to be so cumbersome and subject to subsections and exemptions….that no driver will ever be able to run legal. (since much of the regs seem to be “interpretation”)

  • Spence

    I think that pretty much nails it.