A few members have inquired about hours of service compliance after an emergency declaration under Part 390.23. The following is intended to provide some guidance to those questions:
Part 390.23 grants normally grants relief to motor carriers from Parts 390-399 of the regulations while providing relief to an emergency. Many proclamations limit the relief (such as Maine’s) to specific commodities and to a specific portion of the regulations…in Maine’s case Part 395.
Motor carriers are not required to keep a log book or record on-duty or driving time while providing relief to an emergency. (See interpretation question 2 in Part 390.23).
Drivers must, however, total all of the hours worked while providing relief to the emergency and must consider those hours worked to determine compliance after the emergency is over. (See interpretation question 3 in Part 390.23).
Part 390.23 (b) states: “Upon termination of direct assistance to the regional or local emergency relief effort, the motor carrier or driver is subject to the requirements of parts 390 through 399 of this chapter, with the following exception: A driver may return empty to the motor carrier's terminal or the driver's normal work reporting location without complying with parts 390 through 399 of this chapter. However, a driver who informs the motor carrier that he or she needs immediate rest must be permitted at least 10 consecutive hours off duty before the driver is required to return to such terminal or location. Having returned to the terminal or other location, the driver must be relieved of all duty and responsibilities. Direct assistance terminates when a driver or commercial motor vehicle is used in interstate commerce to transport cargo not destined for the emergency relief effort, or when the motor carrier dispatches such driver or commercial motor vehicle to another location to begin operations in commerce.” I have added emphasis to the word “empty” as a return trip (after the emergency) to the terminal while loaded would not be covered under the proclamation and the driver would have to be in full compliance with the regulations.
To return to compliance as a property carrier, drivers must have 10 hours off between shifts, cannot drive beyond 60 hours in 7 days or 70 hours in 8 days, and cannot drive more than 11 in a shift, and must comply with the 30 minute rest break provision. Therefore, the amount of time off for a driver to get back into compliance with the regulations is dependent on how many hours they have worked during the preceding 7 or 8 period and during the shift at which the declaration ends.
Some drivers may be able to return to compliance by finishing the current shift without driving more than 11 hours in the 14 hour window and ensuring a 30 minute rest break before 8 hours of driving/working has occurred and then taking 10 consecutive hours off. They would be complying by recapping the previous 7 or 8 day period should they have time left in their work week.
Other drivers may have consumed more than 60 hrs./7 days or 70hrs./8 days and may require more than 10 hours before the next shift or a compliant 34 hour restart, ensuring two night-time periods of 1 to 5am. Remember that this can only be utilized if they have not used a recap in the previous 168 hours.
Time Record drivers complying with Part 395.1(e)(1) must ensure they have 10 hours off separating 12 hour duty periods and must return to their normal work reporting location. So any shift starting while the emergency is in effect, but ending after midnight when it expires, would have to comply with Part 395.1(e)(1) as would all shifts going forward.
Planning ahead for the end of an emergency period is important for compliance. We hope this helps with that process.