Hurricane Sandy aftermath prompts a patchwork of waivers, restrictions

By Jami Jones, Land Line managing editor

With billions in damage to the Northeast, many states are already waiving logistical and paperwork hurdles that truckers assisting with the relief efforts could face.

While many would be quick to assume that the states directly affected, and those neighboring the hardest-hit states, would be first to waive cumbersome regulations, truckers need to be aware that states even as far away as Nevada are greasing the skids to help out in the recovery efforts.

The following is a state-by-state breakdown of current executive orders, waivers and exemptions in effect. As of press time, Virginia and New Jersey also have waivers pertaining to driver’s and vehicle licensing. Those are included below.

The state’s DMV has restricted its waiver of hours-of-service regulations to intrastate transportation of diesel, gas and propane. The waiver actually spends more time explaining what motor carriers are not subject to the relief from the regs and when they must return to by-the-book compliance. The waiver expires at 5 p.m., Nov. 6. You can read it here.

Utility vehicles traveling from Indiana to the hurricane damaged Northeast will have the IRP and IFTA regulations waived. The exemption is in place through Nov. 4. The memo also directs law enforcement from taking action on any utility vehicle assisting with the transportation of emergency equipment until 12 a.m. EST, Monday, Nov. 5.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet issued a declaration of emergency that waives not only HOS, but permits as well as requirements.

HOS regs are waived for truckers who are hauling relief supplies – including food, water, medicine and other commodities. The waiver extends to utility vehicles responding to affected areas.

Overweight and oversized loads will not be required to pay permit fees. However, they will be required to obtain the necessary permits for route verification.

IRP registration is also waived for motor carriers providing relief.

The waiver expires 12:01 a.m. EST, Nov. 29.

The emergency order is expressly limited to utility companies assisting with the restoration of power to the area. The exemption lasts until Nov. 4, 2012.

Size and weight restrictions, along with hours-of-service regulations, have been waived in the state of Maryland.

The state will allow a 15 percent weight tolerance above “any weight limited imposed by statute.” If a truck has a load exceeding the 15 percent tolerance, they will be required to obtain a permit. Route restrictions may also be in effect, so check your route first.

Trucks hauling commodities destined for relief efforts – items ranging from heating oil, to food, to debris removal equipment – are relieved from hours-of-service regulations. Companies are not allowed to require or permit drivers operate a truck while ill or fatigued.

The waiver is in effect until it is rescinded by the governor.

Although logistically more than halfway across the country, Nevada is on-board with the relief efforts and is lifting the requirements under IRP and IFTA for vehicles providing relief support to the affected areas along the Northeast. The waiver expires on Nov. 30.

New Hampshire
If you’re heading into New Hampshire, there’s a trifecta of paperwork you’ll need to be aware of.

First, the declaration of emergency notice waives hours of service for propane and natural gas deliveries to homes and businesses; delivery of gasoline to filling stations; delivery of foodstuffs and medicines to grocery and drugstores; and work by local utility crews as well as crews dispatched to New Hampshire.

It is specifically noted in the declaration that motor carriers may not require or allow drivers ill or fatigued to operate a motor vehicle. It goes on to state that any “driver who informs a carrier that he or she needs immediate rest shall be given at least (10) consecutive hours of off-duty” before returning to service.

The HOS waiver is in effect through midnight EDT, Nov. 2.

There is a separate waiver of IRP registration and IFTA requirements for those involved in relief efforts. It too expires at midnight, EDT, Nov. 2.

The third, and final, waiver pertains to overweight loads. The state is temporarily waiving the additional weight and registration process for motor carriers providing relief. The waiver specifically states that no load can exceed the gross vehicle weight or the tire ratings. This waiver, too, expires midnight, EDT, Nov. 2.

New Jersey
With the governor’s declaration of emergency, a waiver of IRP and IFTA requirements was also enacted. Until Nov. 10, out-of-state motor carriers will not be required to obtain IRP or IFTA “trip permits.”

The state is also extending the expiration date of driver’s licenses and permits. Any licenses that expired between Oct. 29 and Oct. 31 have until Nov. 30 to renew their license. Vehicle registration renews also expiring between Oct. 29 and Oct. 31 can be renewed up until Nov. 30.

Through 2400 hours (i.e., midnight EDT) Nov. 4, the state is extending the hours-of-service driving time from 11 hours to 14 hours for transportation of essential food, dairy products and pharmaceuticals as well as transportation and distribution of agricultural feed. Drivers will then be required to take 10 hours of off-duty time before driving again. The 60/70 rule is also waived.

Registration and licensing requirements; hours of service and normal weight and width restrictions have been waived. The waiver pertains only to “statewide” carriers providing relief supplies and restoring utilities.

The only real specifics in the waiver pertain to weights with five axle trucks limited to 90,000 pounds and six-plus axles limited to 100,000 pounds. All trucks are limited to a 51-foot overall axle spacing.

The waiver remains in effect until 12 p.m. EST, Nov. 30, 2012.

Eight-year driver’s licenses, CDLs and hazmat endorsements that expire between Oct. 29 and Nov. 8 are extended until Nov. 9. You will have to renew those credentials before the Nov. 9 modified expiration date. The same applies with vehicle registrations that expire on Oct. 31. You will have to renew them by Nov. 9.

West Virginia
Waivers of truck registration and permitting will be in effect until Dec. 1, 2012. The waiver relates to trip permits, authorizations or licenses required as long as the trucks are providing “humanitarian relief.”

The waiver goes on to state that a truck must be properly licensed and registered in its home state and have proof of insurance. The driver must also have a statement from the person or entity authorizing the transportation of the materials, declaring the load as humanitarian relief.