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Refinery shutdown pushes FMCSA to temporarily lift hours-of-service rules

Carriers hauling refined petroleum products to parts of Midwest exempt

FMCSA exemption could extend until Sept. 10. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Federal regulators announced Friday a temporary exemption to hours-of-service rules for carriers hauling fuel products to multiple states throughout the Midwest affected by a refinery shutdown.

Motor carriers and drivers providing “direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts” by hauling gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel or other refined petroleum products to Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin are temporarily exempt. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said the decision was made to “create more flexibility” for fleets carrying product to the area where supply may be impacted by the abrupt shutdown of BP’s (NYSE: BP) refinery located South of Chicago in Whiting, Indiana.

On Wednesday, a fire at the facility resulted in a loss of power and impacted the site’s cooling water systems. The facility is BP’s largest in the world, capable of producing 440,000 barrels of crude oil daily. No timetable for a restart has been provided, according to reports.

“This Declaration addresses the emergency conditions creating a need for immediate transportation of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel and provides necessary relief,” a statement read.

The exemption does not include route deliveries or mixed loads with only a “nominal quantity” of qualifying freight.

The declaration will remain in effect until the emergency ends or Sept. 10 at the latest.

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

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  1. Juan

    All I see on this is , them easing restrictions only when it suits them. Specially when its big corporations. Enough is enough drivers. You got highways being shutdown by unruly people with their motorcycles. And they do nothing. But hey it can’t be a trucker because they are threatened with arrest.

  2. Steven manson

    Yea bs. Dispatchers will threaten and push the drivers to drive constantly and when there is a fatigue related incident its all “who me?”. If you going to exempt HOS then hold the dispatcher responsible…

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Todd Maiden

Based in Richmond, VA, Todd is the finance editor at FreightWaves. Prior to joining FreightWaves, he covered the TLs, LTLs, railroads and brokers for RBC Capital Markets and BB&T Capital Markets. Todd began his career in banking and finance before moving over to transportation equity research where he provided stock recommendations for publicly traded transportation companies.