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DeSantis lifts Florida’s trucking restrictions as Hurricane Ian approaches

Size, weight, HOS waived for at least 60 days to move emergency equipment, supplies

Trucks hauling FEMA assistance in wake of Hurricane Dorian in 2019. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is waiving hours-of-service, size and weight restrictions for trucks delivering emergency supplies and equipment as the state prepares for Hurricane Ian.

Florida statute allows semitrucks to weigh up to 80,000 pounds.

The emergency order will be in effect for at least the next 60 days and applies to 24 counties: Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lee, Manatee, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Okeechobee, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota and St. Lucie.

Hurricane Ian forecast as of 8AM EST Monday. Source: NOAA.

According to the stipulations in the order, cargo falling under the order “includes any goods, services, materials, merchandise, supplies, equipment, resources or other articles of commerce, and includes, without limitation, food, water, ice, chemicals, petroleum products and lumber necessary for consumption or use as a direct result of the emergency.”

In addition to waiving hours-of-service and size and weight restrictions, the order directs the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle to suspend enforcement of registration requirements for commercial trucks “that enter [the state] to provide emergency services or supplies, to transport emergency equipment, supplies or personnel, or to transport [Federal Emergency Management Agency] mobile homes or office-style mobile homes into or from Florida.”

It also directs the department to waive the collection of Florida’s Turnpike tolls “to the extent such waiver may be needed to provide emergency assistance or facilitate the evacuation of the affected counties.”

Ian, currently located south of Cuba, strengthened from a tropical storm to a Category 1 hurricane over the weekend, with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph. It is forecast to hit the Florida coast early on Thursday.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by John Gallagher.

John Gallagher

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.