Colonial Pipeline
Colonial Pipeline Company

FMCSA issues HOS exemption for fuel haulers after pipeline cyberattack

May 10, 2021
Relief for transporters of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other petroleum products in affected states to last through June 8

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued a temporary hours-of-service exemption for motor carriers and drivers transporting fuel in the wake of the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack.

FMCSA on Sunday issued the exemption for “those transporting gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other refined petroleum products to Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.”

The exemption will remain in effect until June 8 or the end of the emergency, whichever is earlier, FMCSA said.

“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,” the agency stated.

The Regional Emergency Declaration and exemptions from Parts 390 through 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) come in response to the unanticipated shutdown of the Colonial pipeline system due to “network issues” that affect the supply of gasoline and other petroleum products through the affected states.

“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,” FMCSA said.

“By execution of this Emergency Declaration, motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance to the emergency in the affected states in direct support of relief efforts related to the shortages of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products due to the shutdown, partial shutdown, and/or manual operation of the Colonial pipeline system are granted relief from Parts 390 through 399 of Title 49 Code of federal regulations except as restricted herein.”

The full emergency declaration is available here.

The National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC) said last week—before Friday’s ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline—it opposes the HOS exemption for fuel haulers sought by the National Association of Truckstop Operators and three other trade organizations.

“One of the core pillars of our association is a focus on safety, and yes we are combating a driver shortage issue, but in no way, shape or form are we going to sacrifice safety for our professional drivers or the motoring public, for that matter, to get a commodity from Point A to Point B faster,” interim NTTC president Ryan Streblow said.