FMCSA grants HOS waivers for heating-fuel haulers in 45 states

Trucking news and briefs for Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022:

Winter storms prompt 45-state emergency declaration,  waiving HOS regs for heating fuel haulers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Thursday issued a Regional Emergency Declaration in response to severe winter storms and high demand resulting in difficulty obtaining heating fuel, including propane, natural gas and heating oil, in 45 states.

Motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts transporting the products listed above into the affected states are granted emergency relief from the maximum driving time for property-carrying vehicles in the hours of service regulations.

Affected states covered by the waiver include: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

The declaration is effective immediately and will remain in effect until the end of the emergency, or through Jan. 6, whichever is earlier. FMCSA noted that if President Biden or the governor or authorized representative of the state in which you are providing direct assistance to emergency relief efforts has also issued an emergency declaration, that declaration may provide additional regulatory relief.

Keep an eye on FMCSA’s Emergency Declarations page for state-by-state declarations issued by the agency, state governors and more.

Training exemption requests denied

FMCSA also denied petitions from two truck driving schools seeking waivers from certain provisions of the Entry Level Driver Training regulations.

SBL Truck Driving Academy sought an exemption from the theory and behind-the-wheel instructor requirements contained in the ELDT regs for two of its instructors. SBL specifically requested to be allowed an exemption from the requirement that instructors have at least two years of experience in order to train a driver seeking an equivalent CDL/endorsement level.  

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SBL “presented insufficient evidence," FMCSA said, in order to demonstrate the academy could meet or or exceed the level of safety achievable by complying with the reg. 

A separate request from the Western Area Career and Technology Center (WACTC) sought the same its theory and behind-the-wheel instructors. The provider said in its request it wanted to use an instructor with less than two years of CDL driving experience, adding that it has been difficult to find qualified instructors. WACTC stated in its request that the instructor would meet the ELDT regulation’s requirement for two years of driving experience with a Class A CDL in August 2022.

FMCSA noted the request was now moot, but declined to issue an exemption in fear that it might "open the door for similar exemption requests on a widespread basis,” which would go against the goal of the regulations, the agency added. .

Fleet hauls the holidays in giving campaign for 29th year straight

For the 29th year in row, associates of the CFI trucking company came together to raise funds to support the needs of local charities and community service organizations in cities where CFI employees live and work across the U.S., Canada and Mexico, the company said.

This year, its annual Truckloads of Treasures holiday giving campaign raised $41,000, which pushes the overall total of employee contributions since inception in 1993 to more than $1 million. 

“We live in extraordinary times, and I could not be prouder of our associates and their determination,” said Greg Orr, president of CFI. “With the geo-political stress and demands of our day-to-day lives, it would be easy to pause on charity." That didn't happen, as employees and other stepped in a big way, including some of the more than 2,000 professional drivers employed or leased on.  

Funds are raised entirely through associate donations.  

The campaign contributes to charities nominated by associates and benefits underserved families, children, and the elderly during December. Eight charities based in the CFI headquarters city of Joplin, Missouri, received contributions this year, in addition to others.