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U.S. States Allow Overloading with Emergency Response/Relief


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Illinois Authorizes 88,000-pound Trucks Assisting with Emergency Response/Relief

Heavy Duty Trucking (HDT)  /  March 17, 2020

In an effort to support emergency relief efforts in response to the coronavirus outbreak, Illinois is allowing 88,000 pounds (or an additional 10% above legal loads on fewer axles) for trucks assisting with emergency relief.

The emergency declaration applies to loads not exceeding 14 feet in width and 100 feet in length, and movements are authorized 24 hours a day, seven days per week, until April 12.

Truck drivers must ensure that they are carrying a copy of the IDOT Declaration, the Presidential Declaration, and a bill of lading. There is no fee associated with the authorization, and trucking companies must review Obstructions and Restrictions at www.gettingaroundillinois.com and obey all structure postings and any size or weight restrictions.

Fleets can also view a copy of the governor's order here. For a full list of all emergency declarations for Illinois and across the country, go to www.iltrucking.org and click on the red banner at the top of the website.

Other State Actions for Trucking Relief:

Illinois is not the only state providing additional regulatory exemptions for trucks transporting coronavirus relief supplies. Among others are:

Michigan: Will exempt motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance in support of relief efforts related to the COVID-19 outbreaks from seasonal weight restrictions. Direct assistance according to MDOT means transportation and other relief services provided by a motor carrier or its driver to the immediate restoration of essential services, such as medical care, or essential supplies such as food, related to COVID-19 outbreaks during the emergency.

Missouri: On March 15 announced an allowance for heavier-than-normal truckloads of supplies and equipment to travel on Missouri highways in the direct effort to prevent, contain, mitigate and treat the effects of the COVID-19 virus. The waiver allows private and for-hire motor carriers to haul up to 10% more than their licensed weight on Missouri highways and remains in effect through April 30.

Ohio: Hours of service rules have been suspended for motor carriers providing intrastate transportation of relief supplies — including consumer goods and medical supplies — as part of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 response. “Unless otherwise directed, drivers must keep a written or electronic copy of this notice in each vehicle affected by this grant of regulatory relief. This regulatory relief will not apply to vehicles that do not have a copy of this notice.”

Texas: Suspended three sets of statutes, subject to federal law and DMV safety limitations:

  • The oversize and overweight permitting requirements under Transportation Code, Chapters 621 through 623, as well as Title 43, Chapter 219 of the Texas Administrative Code, for all divisible and non-divisible vehicles and loads;
  • The International Registration Plan (IRP) vehicle registration under Transportation Code § 502.091 and 43 Tex. Admin. Code § 217.56, as long as the vehicle is registered in one of the 48 contiguous states of the United States; and
  • The 72-hour and 144-hour temporary registration permits under Transportation Code § 502.094 and 43 Tex. Admin. Code § 217.40(b)(3), as long as the vehicle is registered in one of the states of the United States.
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States Suspend Weight Limits for Trucks Involved in Coronavirus Relief

Transport Topics  /  March 20, 2020

Officials in multiple states have lifted restrictions on truck weight limits to allow delivery vehicles involved in emergency relief efforts to accommodate more freight during the coronavirus pandemic.

About a dozen states have issued suspensions pertaining to these regulations as of March 20.

Shawn Wilson, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, issued a waiver March 18 suspending certain size and weight restrictions on public highways for trucks involved in relief efforts. Wilson recently confirmed he has tested positive for COVID-19.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation authorized a similar weight increase March 17. The maximum gross weight under Mississippi’s allowance is 90,000 pounds on a 5-axle commercial motor vehicle. The waiver does not allow trucks to cross load-posted bridges that can’t bear their weight.

“By waiving certain regulations, we can help ensure timely and efficient delivery of goods and services,” MDOT Executive Director Melinda McGrath said.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a state of emergency March 17 temporarily suspending provisions regarding oversize and overweight loads of food, medical supplies, cleaning products and other household goods.

“These are unprecedented times, and the state of Iowa will do whatever is necessary to address this public health disaster,” Reynolds said. “I have authorized all available state resources, supplies, equipment and materials to combat the spread of COVID-19.”

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s emergency declaration, issued March 14, contained similar language, suspending restrictions on height, weight, length and hours of operation for commercial vehicles involved in relief efforts.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster on March 11 signed an executive order waiving similar rules pertaining to registration, permitting, length, weight and load size.

The Virginia Department of Transportation issued a waiver March 19 for carriers hauling relief supplies, water, food, oil, fuel, waste, livestock, poultry and animal feed.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on March 14 gave the state Department of Transportation permission to issue waivers on weight limits for haulers that supply grocery retailers.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced March 19 that trucks involved in relief efforts are allowed to exceed legal weight limits by up to 15%. Hogan also directed the Maryland Department of Transportation to restrict access to BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport to ticketed passengers and employees only.

“This truly is one of the most daunting challenges our state has ever faced,” Hogan said. “We are all in this together, and if we all do our part to rise to this challenge and to meet this moment, we will get through this together.”

Similar suspensions of weight restrictions for commercial motor vehicles involved in relief efforts have been issued in North Carolina, Nebraska, Illinois and Missouri.

These state waivers dovetail with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s recent relaxation of certain hours-of-service regulations for motor carriers involved in coronavirus-related relief efforts. The declaration was issued March 13, shortly after President Donald Trump declared a national emergency in response to the virus.

Specifically, FMCSA is granting exemption from Parts 390-399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, which cover hours of service, parts and accessories needed for safe operation, and longer combination vehicles. Drivers are not exempt from requirements relating to commercial driver licenses, drugs and alcohol, hazardous materials, size, weight and registration requirements. Also, motor carriers that are subject to an out-of-service notice are not eligible for the relief.

The declaration applies to truck operators involved in direct assistance efforts, such as hauling medical supplies and testing equipment, masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, food and personnel.

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Waste Haulers Exempt from HOS Regs Amid COVID-19

Heavy Duty Trucking (HDT)  /  March 20, 2020

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released their Expanded Emergency Declaration and an accompanying Frequently Asked Questions document as it relates to Hours of Service (HOS) regulations during the COVID-19 national emergency.

The new declaration and FAQs specifically exempt waste haulers from HOS are in direct response to a request by the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) in a letter to Acting Administrator Jim Mullen. Other requirements under Parts 390-399 which include vehicle maintenance, inspection, and driver qualifications are also waived for waste haulers.

The declaration is as follows:

This Emergency Declaration provides regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations providing direct assistance in support of emergency relief efforts related to the COVID-19 outbreaks, including transportation to meet immediate needs for:  . . .  (2) supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19  . . .  

The FAQ issued by FMCSA clarifies this specifically with regard to our industry:

Are haulers of household waste and medical waste covered under the terms of the declaration? Yes, transportation for removal of both household and medical waste is covered as “supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19.”

“We extend our thanks to FMCSA for recognizing the vital role of the waste industry by including us in their Expanded Emergency Declaration. NWRA remains committed to working with federal and state officials to ensure our members can properly and safely respond to this health crisis,” said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith.

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