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September 1, 2017 1:30 PM, EDT
HOS Rules Relaxed as FMCSA Calls State of Emergency for 26 States, District of Columbia
Aerial view of Humble, Texas, on Aug. 28, 2017 David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Driver hours-of-service rules are being relaxed in 26 states and the District of Columbia under a state of emergency announced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Aug. 31.

The declaration is in response to “fuel shortages due to refinery delays and interruption of delivery through pipelines as a result of damage from Tropical Storm Harvey,” according to a notice from FMCSA.

The agency said the states included in the declaration are: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia.

Fuel shortages in the southern United States will necessitate immediate shipments of products such as gasoline, diesel fuels, kerosene, jet fuel and home heating oil. Approximately 22% of Gulf of Mexico oil production has been shut down as of Aug. 27 because of the hurricane, according to the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

FMCSA’s notice grants exemption from Parts 390-399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Parts 390-399 of the regulations cover parts and accessories needed for safe operation, hours of service and longer combination vehicles.

FMCSA stated that this order should not be interpreted as an exemption from clauses on controlled substances and alcohol use, license requirements and hazardous material regulations.