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Saturday, September 30, 2023

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FMCSA Declares Emergency for Cold Wave

It was but five months ago that the FMCSA declared a regional emergency for the west coast states in response to rampant wildfires in that area. Now it is time for over 30 other states, plus Washington D.C., to receive additional support from the nation’s truckers due to irregularly low temperatures.

Cold Snap Delivery Details

The state of emergency works very similar to the recently extended COVID-19 state of emergency: hours-of-service regulations are shelved for various truck drivers under specific scenarios.

The exemption applies to hauling the following goods into the affected states:

  • Supplies
  • Goods
  • Equipment
  • Heating fuels (propane, natural gas, heating oil, etc.)
  • Gasoline
  • Emergency services

The vague wording of the emergency declaration implies that, in contrast to the COVID-19 exemption, flatscreen TVs would be covered under this exemption under “goods”. Beyond those listed above, the exemption also applies to drivers transporting people both into and out of the affected states.

The list of states and districts affected and included in the state of emergency are:

  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Finally, as with all hours-of-service exemptions as a result of a state of emergency, other rules and regulations still apply. As nice as it is to deliver kerosene stoves to freezing people on the southern side of the Canadian border, it does not permit truckers to run through red lights at 80 miles per hour while texting and consuming alcohol.


Unlike the COVID-19 state of emergency that has been going on for almost a year, this emergency is fully expected to not need an extension, as it is currently set to expire March 4th, when the ugliest of winter has ended. The weather of Austin, Texas is currently expected to reach normal winter levels around Sunday the 21st.

To read the regional state of emergency declaration and to get further details, check out the FMCSA’s webpage.

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