Natural disasters have a tendency to bring out the best in us as Americans and Hurricanes Ike and Gustav are no exception. As the areas bordering the Gulf look for relief, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has released their disaster relief information for transportation service providers. These guidelines are part of section 320.93 of the federal regulations and are intended as temporary measures to streamline emergency relief to areas impacted by natural disasters.
What this means is that service providers who are providing direct assistance with emergency relief are exempt from parts 390 through 399 of federal regulations. This includes hours of service—drivers are not required to log hours during the time in which they are directly assisting relief efforts. However, drivers cease to be exempt as soon as they are no longer directly offering assistance.
To ensure that carriers who wish to help are able to help, FMCSA also offers expedited processing for intrastate service providers who wish to obtain temporary interstate operating authority. FMCSA will also waive the $300 application fee for these drivers. This temporary authority is effective for 120 days and is only intended for those drivers wanting to assist with recovery efforts.
FMCSA has all of the disaster relief information posted on their website, including expiration dates for each state, and suggests that questions concerning exemptions should be directed to your field office. We at uShip encourage all of our service providers who would like to help with recovery efforts to contact your state government to learn how you can be of assistance.