FMCSA reminds truckers of emergency hours exception

Updated Jul 17, 2020

Trucking news & briefs for July 10, 2020: 

Amid the past month’s concern over interstate blockades, FMCSA reminds drivers of emergency conditions exception
The well-known adverse driving conditions exception to the hours of service regulations allows for two additional drive hours (in conditions defined in 49 CFR 395.2) to complete the “run or to reach a place offering safety for the occupants of the commercial motor vehicle and security for the commercial motor vehicle and its cargo.”

Perhaps lesser-known, and highlighted yesterday by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on its Facebook page, are allowances in situations of true emergency, where a broader hours exemption is available to complete the run or get to safety. As the agency wrote yesterday, it “wants drivers to know that they may use the emergency conditions exception in 395.1(b) to complete a trip without violating the hours-of-service regulations if the trip was delayed due to a civil disturbance causing a driver to reasonably fear for their physical safety.”

The Facebook post was published the same day as well-known former owner-operator Jeff Clark’s “Truckers are People, Not Targets” commentary at the website of Michael Smerconish. Clark recounts his run into and back out of Minneapolis the same day that tank owner-operator Bogdan Vechirko got stuck in the crowd of demonstrators on I-35W, a story told in Overdrive in reporting in the wake of the event. Vechirko was briefly attacked, and robbed, before being protected by others among those crowding the highway.

No one was ever prosecuted for the attack, Clark wrote, and he saw the effect ultimately play out among online communities of truckers, where some view the absence of accountability as an endorsement of the notion that, as he writes: “it is OK to attack truck drivers. Truck drivers hear it as we are on our own. We need to protect ourselves.”

Reports of other highways blocked by demonstrators seeking to gain attention haven’t been hard to find in the month and more following the incident, and some instances of truck looting have occurred, though the risk of both has been low-to-nonexistent on most lanes.

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Clark, nonetheless, urged Americans have the appropriate respect for a working hauler and stay off the highways: “We can not continue to close down interstate highways,” he wrote. “Professional truckers are an integral part of our economy. We have worked right through this pandemic. We just want to be treated as if our lives matter, too.”

FMCSA, via its Facebook post, urged “any driver who experiences crime or violence” to “immediately call the police.”

Mississippi-based owner-op wins new Cascadia from Landstar
Landstar owner-operator Bobby Jordan, of Soso, Mississippi, is now the owner of a 2020 Freightliner Cascadia after being selected as the winner of the Landstar All-Star Truck Giveaway.

Jordan was one of four finalists randomly drawn from a pool of Landstar’s 1,086 active 1 million, 2 million and 3 million safe drivers and Roadstars.

Bobby JordanBobby Jordan

During the virtual event held Thursday  on Zoom, the 2020 Landstar All-Star Truck Giveaway winner was determined after each of the four finalists selected which box they believed to contain the key to the giveaway truck. Jordan guessed correctly to win the viper blue Cascadia spec’d with a suite of safety systems, fuel efficiency features, a Detroit DD15, 14.8L engine and a Detroit DT12 automated transmission.

Jordan leased to Landstar in 1982. He was named a Million Mile Safe Driver in 1993 and a Roadstar honoree in 2001.

Earlier in the week, Landstar announced its new class of Million Mile Safe Drivers and Roadstar honorees. The company named 14 new Landstar Roadstar drivers, 117 new One Million Mile Safe Drivers, 10 new Two Million Mile Safe Drivers and two new Three Million Mile Safe Drivers. The Roadstar designation is one of Landstar’s highest honors for owner-operators awarded to the “best of the best” on their high levels of safety, productivity and excellence in customer service.