ATA seeks emergency relief from regulations

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In a letter to the nation’s governors, American Trucking Associations President Bill Graves asked for leniency in many regulations on truckers helping in relief efforts to the storm-ravaged Gulf Coast.

A former Kansas governor himself, Graves in his Sept. 2 letter wrote: “The trucking industry is preparing to aid in the massive relief and reconstruction effort that will be executed over the coming weeks and months. Transporting supplies to the affected region in an expedited manner will pose a major challenge for our industry.”

Graves said the trucking industry already was dealing with tight capacities and a shortage of drivers before Hurricane Katrina crashed ashore Monday, smashing the coast and causing massive flooding in New Orleans. Much of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama is without food, fuel and power. The death toll is unknown, but New Orleans officials have said the number could be in the thousands.

Graves asked governors nationwide to ensure that law enforcement officials were aware of a presidential waiver of the federal hours-of-service regulations for truckers involved in relief efforts. He also asked governors to help expedite the permitting of loads that could exceed some weight limits if they were intended to aid in the relief effort.

Graves also asked for other immediate temporary measures:

  • The waiving of requirements for the purchase of trip permits for registration and fuel tax for motor carriers;
  • Leniency in renewing recently expired CDL licenses for carriers in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi;
  • The monitoring of fuel prices to prevent price gouging, and an allowance for trucks that are overweight because of too-heavy fuel tanks. Graves said drivers trying to meet weight requirements may run the risk of running out of fuel; and
  • The waiving of federal fuel taxes for off-road diesel fuel purchases, and the waiving of laws prohibiting on-road vehicles from using off-road fuels.
  • The letter was sent to governors of 47 states, excluding hard-hit Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.

    Some federal agencies already are waiving various regulations, according to the ATA’s website. The Internal Revenue Service, for example, temporarily is waiving a tax penalty for the sale of dyed diesel fuels for highway vehicles.