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FMCSA Lengthens Exemption for Western Wildfires

Between COVID-19, hurricanes, and now wildfires, it seems the whole United States is in a constant state of emergency. There is little need to worry though, truckers have the means to get us through these hard times. Even more so because, like for the hurricanes before it and the coronavirus pandemic going on now, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has extended a State of Emergency for truckers.

The Details

If you are familiar with what happened for the hurricanes in the southeast and what is happening with coronavirus, this should seem very familiar to you. What may surprise you is that the State of Emergency was actually already enabled as of the middle of August. Wildfires have increased rapidly since then, so it has been extended.

You can read the declaration in its entirety. For a very quick summary of a few (but not all) of the key points:

  • The State of Emergency grants some people immunity from Hours of Service violations.
  • Only people delivering emergency goods into California, Oregon, or Washington get this privilege. Delivering televisions to Oregon does not allow drivers to suspend hours-of-service regulations.
  • Going beyond hours-of-service only applies if the driver is not tired. If a driver needs immediate rest, they may be required a ten-hour break before the current hours-of-service expire.
  • Exceeding hours-of-service, the driver must take a ten hour break minimum once the delivery is fulfilled. No working consecutive shifts.
  • All other driving regulations, such as the truck being in good condition and traffic laws being obeyed, still apply.

As with all State of Emergencies, this exemption is not a ticket to bend the rules in order to make additional money, but to help increase the inflow of supplies ever so slightly by reducing bureaucracy.


The State of Emergency is slated to end either when it is stated there is no longer an emergency or until October 19th. Like with the coronavirus pandemic and how this declaration was before, it could very well be extended for another month if necessary.

It may seem like the world is going to Hell, but it is important to remember that, like hurricanes, wildfires are a common occurrence and western states have survived them before. It was only two years ago that Camp Fire happened and California was drenched in smoke as well. We will get through this; stay the course.

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