As it did for Hurricane Harvey, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a Regional Emergency Declaration as Hurricane Irma was nearing the coast of Florida. The declaration covers Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the territory of the US Virgin Islands.

Emergency Declarations trigger the temporary suspension of certain federal safety regulations for motor carriers and drivers engaged in specific aspects of the emergency relief, including direct assistance for the immediate restoration of essential services (such as electrical, sewer, water, and telecommunications) or essential supplies (such as food, water, medical supplies, and fuel).

Tank truck carriers wanting to participate in the emergency relief effort are encouraged to sign up with the American Logistics Aid Network at https://www.alanaid.org, according to Boyd Stephenson, National Tank Truck Carriers senior vice-president of government affairs.

Carriers and drivers must adhere to these requirements even during relief from FMCSA regulations:

Drivers responding to provide "direct assistance" to an "emergency" meeting the definitions in 49 CFR 390.5 and declared by FMCSA or a state 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.

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.)

Even if an Emergency Declaration is still in effect, the emergency must be on-going and you must be providing direct emergency assistance in order to be exempt from safety regulations.

An FMCSA Regional Emergency Declaration continues to exist for Hurricane Harvey. The agency created a special webpage--https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/Harvey--containing resources, links, and information for commercial motor vehicle carriers and drivers. Additional content will be regularly added.

A second webpage--https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/Irma--has been created containing resources, links, and information for commercial motor vehicle carriers, and drivers operating in the region affected by Hurricane Irma. Additional content will be regularly added.

For a current list of regional and state-by-state Emergency Declarations, Waivers, Exemptions and Permits, see: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/emergency.