Truck stops closed due to power outages from winter storm

Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021: 

Winter storm leads to closed truck stops across South
A large winter storm that moved across the southern plains and southeast this week has wreaked havoc across the region from Texas and Oklahoma east to the Carolinas and Virginia. One of the biggest impacts for truck drivers is being seen with truck stop closures due to power outages and other issues.

Each of the three major truck stop chains – Love’s, TA-Petro and Pilot – have long lists of truck stops that are either closed, don’t have power, are low on fuel and more.

According to Pilot, the company has 34 locations in Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana and Mississippi that are closed due to power outages as of Tuesday afternoon. Drivers can find an updated list of closed locations here.

TA-Petro, as of noon Eastern time Tuesday, has 23 locations impacted by storms in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Many of these locations are open but have other issues, including closed restaurants, diesel pumps down, TA Truck Service locations closed, and more. An updated list of TA-Petro closures can be found here.

Finally, Love’s Travel Stops has two locations completely closed, 33 locations with power outages, 15 locations with diesel outages, and numerous other locations with water outages, restaurant closures and Love’s Truck Care closures. The full list of impacted Love’s stores can be found here.

“A vast majority of Love’s Travel Stops, Speedco and Love’s Truck Care locations are operating as normal. However, due to the massive winter storm moving through the United States, there are business disruptions and power outages at select Love's locations,” said Chad Previch, Love’s external communications manager. “In addition, because of the significant number of roads and highways closed, fuel terminal closures in many states and the safety of our fuel delivery drivers, diesel is unavailable at a few Love’s locations. Love's teams are safely and quickly working with internal teams, utility companies and contractors to get locations back up and running to serve our customers. At this time, we are not limiting the amount of diesel that can be purchased at our locations.”

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FMCSA extends hours of service waiver for COVID relief haulers
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is extending its hours of service waiver for truck drivers hauling relief supplies related to the COVID-19 pandemic through May 31. The waiver was most recently set to expire Feb. 28.

Motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance in support of relief efforts related to COVID-19 are exempt from Parts 390 through 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

Under the terms of the waiver, direct COVID-19 assistance is limited to the transportation of the following:

  • Livestock and livestock feed
  • Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19
  • Vaccines, constituent products, and medical supplies and equipment including ancillary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines, related to the prevention of COVID-19
  • Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants
  • Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores

Direct assistance does not include routine commercial deliveries, including mixed loads with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief added to obtain the benefits of this emergency declaration.

The agency notes in its most recent waiver renewal that it intends “to wind down the exemptions granted under this emergency declaration and related COVID-19 regulatory relief measures to the extent possible.”

MATS 50th anniversary officially postponed to 2022
Organizers of the Mid-America Trucking Show on Monday officially announced the event will not to be held for the second year in a row. Instead, the 50th anniversary show will be staged March 24-26, 2022.

Plans had been discussed to move this year's show from March to September, but that will not happen. MATS was the first major trucking event to cancel last year as the COVID-19 pandemic began. 

"The primary goal of the Mid-America Trucking Show has always been to bring the entire industry together for the largest and most comprehensive, face-to-face event in trucking," said MATS President Toby Young. "With this goal in mind, MATS 50th has been scheduled for March 24-26, 2022. These dates ensure the full support of our industry at an uncompromised, large-scale, in-person event that meets our shared goals and delivers the caliber of show that we have all come to expect from MATS."

Young added that show organizers are working to bring new experiences to the 2022 event, including "more education, exhibits, events, and entertainment than ever before."

The new-look MATS, according to Young, will include:

  • Opening night celebration and networking event
  • Expanded education, product demonstrations, and speaking opportunities
  • Larger-than-ever PKY Truck Beauty Championship
  • More outdoor events and entertainment
  • Interactive MATS history experiences

Trucker loses family while on the road, industry responds with fund-raiser
Thomas Reese, a hard-working trucking company owner and driver, was many miles from home when he received a devastating phone call. His entire family – wife Quaniece and his four children (8-year-old India, 5-year-old Jacob, 3-year-old Thomas, and 18-month-old Shirley) – perished in an electrical house fire that began while the family slept. They died of smoke inhalation, according to authorities

Mr. Reese, the owner and main driver of NYOG & Sons LLC in Rex, Georgia, was on the road in Maryland at the time and returned to a home that was left unsalvageable. The fire took everything that was nearest and dearest to his heart, and in response friends and associates in the industry began a campaign to assist him with funds to rebuild. Donations to the GoFundMe effort will go to Mr. Reese to help him navigate the difficult next steps.

Massachusetts man pleads guilty to falsifying DOT medical forms
John Kamau, of Massachusetts, pleaded guilty this month to making false statements on DOT Medical Examination Report Forms, according to the DOT Office of Inspector General.

According to OIG, Kamau in May 2016 allegedly responded “yes” to a question on the form that would have precluded him from obtaining a DOT medical certificate without an exemption. Based on that response, a medical examiner determined that he was not qualified to operate a commercial vehicle.

In September 2016, Kamau allegedly filled out a second DOT medical form and submitted it to a different medical examiner, this time answering “no” to the question, and the second examiner determined he was qualified to drive a commercial vehicle.

Then, in February 2019, he allegedly submitted another DOT medical form to a third medical examiner, again responding no to the question above, as well as to a question that asked whether his DOT medical certificate had ever been denied.