Winter Weather Impacting Your Operations?

Pay Attention to these Emergency Declarations from FMCSA and Your State

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is coordinating with a number of states that have been impacted by extreme winter weather and have filed Emergency Declarations. ABA recommends that you check each state's website (or click here) and search for "Issued Emergency Declarations".

To provide vital supplies and transportation services to a disaster area in the United States, emergency declarations may be issued by the president, governors of states, or FMCSA. These declarations trigger the temporary suspension of certain federal safety regulations, including Hours of Service, for motorcarriers and drivers engaged in specific aspects of the emergency relief effort. See 49 CFR 390.23 for the actual emergency regulation.

Relief from Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) is limited to a maximum of 30 days, unless extended by FMCSA itself.

The information below reflects provides some limits to what:

  1. Drivers responding to provide "direct assistance" to an "emergency" meeting the definitions in 49 CFR 390.5 and declared by FMCSA or a governor, are exempt from applicable regulations in all states on their route to the emergency , even though those states may not be involved in the emergency or stated in the declaration of emergency.
  2. These exemptions, when in effect, only apply to 49 CFR Parts 390-399. They do NOT exempt drivers/carriers from the requirements relating to CDL, drug/alcohol, hazardous materials, size & weight, or state/federal registration and tax requirements. (However, a governor's declaration may add some of those exemptions - read the declaration for details.)
  3. Even if an Emergency Declaration is still in effect, the emergency must be ongoing and you must be providing direct emergency assistance in order to be exempt from safety regulations.
  4. There is no requirement to carry a copy of the declaration in the vehicle unless stated so in the declaration itself.
  5. Drivers and carriers should coordinate with State emergency officials before providing assistance. State regulations regarding size and weight, permits, taxes, etc. may not have been waived.
  6. Even though safety regulations may be suspended, drivers and carriers are expected to use good judgment and not operate vehicles with fatigued or ill drivers, or under any conditions presenting a clear hazard to other motorists using the highways

About the American Bus Association

The American Bus Association (ABA) is the trade organization of the intercity bus industry, with more than 1,000 motorcoach and tour company members in the United States and Canada. Its members operate charter, tour, regular route, airport express, special operations and contract services. Another 2,800 members are travel and tourism organizations and suppliers of bus products and services who work in partnership with the North American motorcoach industry.


Melanie Hinton, Vice President, Communications & Marketing, ABA
Office: (202) 218-7220
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