EMA Asks FMCSA To Extend Comment Period On Proposed Rule To Restrict Duration, Scope Of State HOS Waivers

Last week, EMA sent a letter to the administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requesting an extension of the public comment period deadline for a proposed rule that would severely limit the authority of state governors to waive federal motor carrier safety regulations during a declared emergency.

The proposed rule would limit both the scope of FMCSA regulations subject to a state issued waiver and the duration of the waiver itself.

Under current federal regulations, when a president, governor, or the FMCSA issues a declaration of emergency, a 30-day exemption from FMCSA regulations in parts 49 CFR 390-399 is automatically created for drivers providing direct assistance to state and local emergency relief efforts.

Those sections include driver: hours of service; medical qualifications including medical exams; CDL licensure and renewal; vehicle inspections, repair and maintenance and training.

Under the proposed rule, the FMCSA is seeking to narrow the automatic applicability of emergency exemptions to driver hours-of-service only.

FMCSA is also proposing to reduce the duration of emergency waivers issued by state governors from 30 days to just 5 days.

The scope and duration of emergency waivers issued by the President or FMCSA would remain unchanged under the proposal.

EMA is asking for the extension after learning that many state emergency planners were unaware of the FMCSA proposal that could significantly restrict their waiver authority during declared emergencies.

The comment period for the proposed rule closes February 6, 2023. EMA wants the deadline extended to March 9, 2023 so that all stakeholders have a chance to comment.

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