Propane haulers in North Dakota, South Dakota and Florida now are temporarily exempt from federal hours of service regulations, per two declarations issued this week by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, who has already issued exemptions for propane haulers in about two-thirds of the U.S.
The exemptions come as additions to regional waivers already issued for the Midwest, the East and the South, issued due to regional propane shortages caused by an uptick in demand due to the “polar vortex” caused colder-than-average temperatures and kinks in distribution and storage.
The country’s propane supply is “more than adequate,” says the National Propane Gas Association, who requested the waivers for propane haulers, but certain events in recent months have combined to cause issues with getting the home heating fuel to consumers.
The waivers last until 11:59 p.m. Feb. 11, and drivers hauling propane must have a copy of the declaration with them. Click here to download the one for North and South Dakota and click here for Florida’s.
The exemption expires immediately when a driver uses his equipment for something other than hauling propane or returning empty to a terminal or reporting location from hauling propane.
FMCSA’s regional HOS waivers include propane haulers in Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, 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 and Wisconsin.
Waivers for these states last until Feb. 11, too.
Affected tractors are equipped with an automated Eaton UltraShift Plus or Eaton Advantage Transmission with right hand stalk shifter. In the affected trucks, the display on the instrument panel can indicate “N” when the shifter is set into “D” or “R,” causing the truck not to move.
The new “health-based requirements” will need to be met before a driver is allowed to register his or her truck through the Department of Motor Vehicles, CARB says. For older vehicles, CARB says they must be either replaced with a 2011 or newer vehicle or repowered with a 2010 or newer engine.