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FMCSA: Drivers fearing for their safety can tap HOS exception

FMCSA providing HOS to drivers fearing their safety. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Drivers running into protests and other unexpected delays caused by civil unrest and who fear for their safety will not be considered in violation of hours-of-service regulations, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

In a July 9 tweet, the agency underscored an emergency exception – subsection 395.1 (b) within FMCSA regulations – that a driver can tap to complete a trip.

“After seeing incidents of threats against drivers, FMCSA wants drivers to know that they may use the emergency exception…to complete a trip without violating the hours of service regulations if the trip was delayed due to a civil disturbance causing a driver to reasonably fear for their physical safety,” FMCSA stated. “A driver who experiences crime or violence should immediately call the police.”

Many truckers have been on edge over the last two months since protests and rioting erupted in over 100 cities across the U.S. in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death. Some states resorted to closing off interstate highway exits in anticipation of protests, leading companies to warn of delivery delays.

Fears over safety have also led to renewed efforts to change concealed carry laws to make it easier for drivers with concealed carry permits to legally take those firearms across state boundaries.

Recent protests over issues unrelated to civil rights have also resulted in transportation delays. This week hundreds of Mexican farmers vented their frustration over government cuts in subsidy prices of sorghum by using their tractors and trucks to block access to the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge on the U.S.-Mexico border, disrupting international trade.

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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.