Baltimore bridge collapse: Emergency HOS waiver issued in Maryland, SBA loans available

Updated Apr 10, 2024

Trucking news and briefs for Thursday, April 4, 2024:

FMCSA extends Baltimore bridge collapse-related emergency declaration

UPDATED April 10, 2024, with further details about the limited nature of some of the hours of service waivers. Find more information via this link.  

An emergency declaration issued by Maryland Gov. Wes Moore following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore has been extended by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Moore declared a state of emergency the day of the collapse, March 26. Under federal rules, declarations from state governors can only be issued for two weeks at a time, so Maryland’s declaration was set to expire on April 8.

In a notice published Thursday, FMCSA said the state of Maryland and the Maryland Motor Truck Association asked the agency to extend the emergency relief granted to truck drivers providing direct assistance to the emergency.

“Because emergency conditions, including the sudden and significant disruption of distribution operations, have not abated,” the agency is extending the declaration for a month, through May 8.

FMCSA said in the extension, direct assistance includes:

  • Transportation related to the immediate restoration of essential services at the Port of Baltimore
  • Transportation of commodities re-routed due to the disruptions to vessel traffic into the Port, subject to the restrictions and conditions set forth in the extension
  • Transportation of fuel (gasoline, ethanol, propane, natural gas, and heating oil) from Maryland’s Curtis Bay terminal (within the Baltimore Marine Terminal area) for delivery to the following locations within Maryland: Anne Arundel, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Cecil County, Frederick County, Harford County, Howard County, Queen Anne’s County, and Washington County.

The agency noted that “direct assistance does not include transportation related to long-term rehabilitation of damaged physical infrastructure or routine commercial deliveries, after the initial threat to life and property has passed, or mixed loads with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief added to obtain the benefits of this emergency declaration.”

Under the terms of the extension, qualified drivers in the first category listed above are exempt from the maximum driving time hours of service regulations in 49 Code of Federal Regulations 395.3. Truckers hauling the following two categories of commodity (rerouted cargo, fuel for delivery to specific areas) are allowed two extra hours of drive time, similar to that in the adverse-conditions exception. 

[Related: Maryland temporarily waives certain IFTA requirements]

New York waives fuel haulers’ HOS regs for eclipse

The New York State Department of Transportation on April 2 issued an emergency declaration that waives the hours-of-service regulations for petroleum haulers in the state in the days surrounding the April 8 total solar eclipse.

Partner Insights
Information to advance your business from industry suppliers
The ALL NEW Rand Tablet
Presented by Rand McNally

NYSDOT said in the order that the eclipse “impacting travel across the state of New York may cause impediments to the delivery of essential petroleum products.” As such, “it has been determined that action is necessary to address this emergency and the threat it poses to public health and safety and that certain rules should be temporarily modified in order to ensure the adequate delivery of petroleum throughout the state.”

The declaration modifies the hours-of-service regulations in the New York code for the intrastate transportation of fuels performed by carriers between points throughout the state. The waiver is effective April 6 through April 10. HOS modifications under the order include:

  • The 70-hour maximum on duty period in 8-days is modified to be 84 hours.
  • The 60-hour maximum on duty period in 7-days is modified to be 74 hours.
  • The 14-hour maximum workday is modified to be 16 hours. An 8-hour off-duty period must be taken to reset the 16-hour provision.
  • The 34-hour restart provision is modified to be 24 hours. Carriers can utilize a 24-hour off-duty period that occurred prior to the date of the declaration.
  • On-duty time for the purposes of computation of the 60/70- or 14-hour rules shall not include time spent waiting in a commercial motor vehicle while on the property of a shipper or carrier, loading point, unloading point, or terminal immediately subsequent to or preceding loading/unloading operations.

The full text of the waiver can be found here.

[Related: Total solar eclipse: Path across U.S., safety, travel advisories, more]

SBA opens disaster loan program in wake of Baltimore bridge collapse

The U.S. Small Business Administration on March 30 issued a disaster declaration, allowing certain small businesses impacted by the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore to apply for low-interest, long-term Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs).

SBA Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman made the loans available in response to a letter from Maryland Gov. Wes Moore on March 29, requesting a disaster declaration by the SBA. The declaration covers the entire state of Maryland and contiguous counties, including the District of Columbia; Kent, New Castle, and Sussex in Delaware; Adams, Bedford, Chester, Fayette, Franklin, Fulton, Lancaster, Somerset, and York in Pennsylvania; Accomack, Independent City of Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudoun in Virginia; and Berkley, Grant, Hampshire, Jefferson, Mineral, Morgan, and Preston in West Virginia.

The declaration applies to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture businesses, and private nonprofit organizations. Applicants in the declared area can now apply for a federal Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) of up to $2 million to help overcome any temporary loss of revenue stemming from the bridge collapse. The loans can be used to pay normal operating expenses such as fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disruption. 

Eligibility is based on the financial impact of the disaster only and not on any actual property damage. The loans have an interest rate of 4% for small businesses and 3.25% for private nonprofit organizations with terms up to 30 years and are restricted to small businesses without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship.

Interest does not begin to accrue until 12 months from the date of the first disaster loan disbursement. SBA disaster loan repayment begins 12 months from the date of the first disbursement.

SBA has set up two Business Recovery Centers (BRCs) in Baltimore to help small business owners complete their disaster loan applications, accept documents for existing applications, and provide status on loan applications. One BRC is located at the Dundalk Renaissance at 11 Center Place, Suite 201, Dundalk, Maryland. The other is located at the CareFirst Engagement Center, 1501 South Clinton Street, Baltimore. Both locations are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

[Related: SBA auditing truckers' insurance in wake of pandemic disaster loans: Two owner-operators' stories]

Montana opens rest area with law enforcement office

The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) on Friday is opening a new rest area near Three Forks that offers truck parking, restrooms and more.

The Headwaters Rest Area is located on U.S. Highway 287 near the I-90 interchange. MDT said it includes modern design features, safety enhancements, and a Law Enforcement Office that will be available for use by the Broadwater County Sheriff, Montana Highway Patrol (MHP), and MDT Motor Carrier Services (MCS).

The rest area will offer 35 truck/RV parking spaces, a drinking fountain with a bottle filler, a fenced pet area and more.

Showcase your workhorse
Add a photo of your rig to our Reader Rigs collection to share it with your peers and the world. Tell us the story behind the truck and your business to help build its story.
Submit Your Rig
Reader Rig Submission