Kentucky Waives HOS Limits to Aid Storm Relief Efforts

Declaration Extends Through Aug. 18
Kentucky traffic Interstate 65
Traffic on Interstate 65 in Shepherdsville, Ky. Heavy storms brought flash flooding, hail and damaging winds to western Kentucky and other parts of the state July 17-19. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

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Kentucky officials have issued a temporary emergency order waiving federal hours-of-service rules and weigh station requirements through Aug. 18 for truckers assisting with storm relief efforts after recent severe weather caused flooding and wind damage.

“This order is to help avoid any delay for utility crews and other responders coming to the aid of storm victims in a wide swath of western Kentucky and some other areas,” said Jim Gray, secretary of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

Gray signed the order July 19 in support of a state of emergency declared the same day by Gov. Andy Beshear that followed storms that brought torrential rain, hail, damaging winds and flash flooding beginning July 17, resulting in nearly 6,000 power outages.

The state filed the order with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The order temporarily exempts drivers in emergency response efforts from maximum federal driving time limits and from being required to stop at weigh stations. Emergency response includes commercial vehicles providing power restoration within the affected areas and debris removal.

“To ensure the safety of the traveling public, carriers must comply with safety requirements and have a copy of the order in the truck cab if operating under the authority of the official order,” the notice stated. All other safety requirements shall remain in full force, it added.

According to the National Weather Service, historic flash flooding occurred overnight July 18 and into the morning of July 19 over western Kentucky and into part of southern Illinois. Rain amounts ranging from 6 to 12 inches fell during a 10-hour period. Among the areas in Kentucky that were impacted from the bad weather were Graves County and the city of Mayfield. Both also were hit in December 2021 by a catastrophic tornado, and Graves County has not yet fully recovered from that event.

Rick Taylor, president of the Kentucky Trucking Association, expressed his appreciation for Beshear’s efforts to help residents coping with the aftermath of the recent storm and flooding. He said the temporary waiver especially helps from a logistics perspective, enabling truckers to transport supplies and get products delivered to people in need.

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