WASHINGTON, DC—Communities across the United States are “struggling with the impacts of the worst drought in decades,” the White House said in a statement. The hours-of-service regulations have been waived in order to give immediate relief to American farmers and ranchers affected by the drought.
In a situation that a drought emergency is declared by its Governor or appointed official, HOS regulations will automatically be waived. No applications are required, the White House said on August 7.
Right now, ongoing drought has hit Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and southern Illinois and Indiana. The Department of Transportation has already waived HOS regulations in affected areas to help farmers and ranchers by putting more trucks and drivers on the road.
On August 1, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood discussed how DOT can work with Governors to help communities in drought. He addressed emergency waivers of HOS and for Federal truck weight regulations.
In July, Obama signed a transportation bill which gives States authority to issue special permits for overweight vehicles and loads that can easily be dismantled or divided in an emergency. The new special permits will be available October 1, 2012. DOT expects that the new process may provide states with “a new tool to use for hauling heavy loads of grain, livestock” for drought relief.
As for situations that do not qualify for emergency relief, the Federal rules regulating large trucks may still be waived depending on circumstances. DOT can process a request to waive the regulation in seven to 14 days.