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Hours-of-service waiver issued in wake of pipeline cyberattack

Carriers and drivers responding to fuel emergency are getting relief from hours-of-service requirements

Emergency HOS waiver applies to drivers operating in 17 and DC. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Federal regulators issued on Sunday an emergency work-rule exemption for truck drivers and motor carriers as a result of the Colonial Pipeline shutdown.

The shutdown that occurred on Friday and was caused by a cybersecurity ransomware attack warrants a Regional Emergency Declaration and an exemption from Parts 390 through 399 of federal motor carrier safety regulations, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Those regulations include hours-of-service rules.

“This declaration addresses the emergency conditions creating a need for immediate transportation of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products and provides necessary relief” for carriers and drivers in 17 states and the District of Columbia that are providing direct assistance, according to the exemption.

“USDOT’s top priority is safety, and while current circumstances dictate providing industry flexibility, FMCSA will work closely with its state and industry partners to monitor driver work hours and conditions for the duration of the exemption,” FMCSA said in a statement.

In addition to the District of Columbia, FMCSA’s waiver applies to the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

This exemption is in effect until June 8 or until the emergency is declared over, whichever is earlier.

Colonial Pipeline Co.’s operations team is developing a system restart plan, the company said in a statement Sunday evening. “While our mainlines (Lines 1, 2, 3 and 4) remain offline, some smaller lateral lines between terminals and delivery points are now operational,” according to the company’s latest update.

“We are in the process of restoring service to other laterals and will bring our full system back online only when we believe it is safe to do so, and in full compliance with the approval of all federal regulations.”


  1. Donna

    These waivers are pathetic and they don’t provide relief to the drivers, they provide relief to the customer. Either hours of service are good or they should just throw them in the trash rather than issuing waivers every time they want something.

    1. Mike

      Your emergencies are a joke if logbooks are for safety then saftey should never be compromised
      I haver done a legal log in over a year because of covid declaration she I’m massing better money and I’m more rested running how I want to not how the law decides your rules don’t work for us or the country that’s why there are so many emergency declarations

  2. Dustin

    If only people knew how little we get to see our families during times like these just so they can get fuel!! Be nice to the gas guys and don’t park in the way please

Comments are closed.

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.