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Baltimore Bridge Collapse Update: Emergency Declaration Extension Issued by FMCSA (May 7, 2024)

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Francis Scott Key Bridge News and Updates

At approximately 1:30 a.m. ET on March 26, 2024, a cargo ship leaving the Port of Baltimore in Baltimore, MD struck the (I-695) Francis Scott Key Bridge. This caused a collapse of the bridge. Please continue to check this page regularly for related updates affecting commercial motor vehicles, including traffic alerts and emergency declarations.

FMCSA Information Session (April 10, 2024)

FMCSA hosted a public webinar Wednesday, April 10th, to highlight current Emergency Declarations, Exemptions and Waivers affecting the commercial motor vehicle industry as a result of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse. A recording of the webinar and the presentation provided are available below.

You may continue to submit questions regarding the current Emergency Declaration to FMCSADeclaration@dot.gov

Slide Presentation from webinar (updated 4/11/24)

Emergency Declarations

Resources

 Frequently Asked Questions

  1. The state of Maryland issued an Emergency Declaration on March 26, 2024, as a result of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore. How does FMCSA’s Extension of Emergency Declaration issued on April 4, 2024, affect me as a commercial motor vehicle driver?

    FMCSA’s Extension continues the emergency relief from Federal hours-of-service requirements in 49 CFR § 395.3 for motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance to the immediate restoration of essential services and reopening of the navigable waters into the Port of Baltimore, including transportation of equipment and supplies related to immediate repairs to the roadways and waterways adjacent to the Port and removal of wreckage and debris from the waterways providing access to the Port. 

    In addition, the Extension provides limited relief from hours-of-service requirements by allowing an additional two hours to the 11-hour maximum driving time under 49 CFR § 395.3(a)(3)(i) for motor carriers and drivers who are transporting freight that has been diverted/rerouted from the Port of Baltimore to other east coast ports. 

    The Extension also provides targeted relief from the electronic logging device (ELD) installation requirements under 49 CFR § 395.8(a)(1)(i) for drivers and motor carriers that currently are not required to use an ELD, such as drivers and motor carriers that typically use the short-haul exemption in association with Port of Baltimore freight activity, and do not have an ELD already installed in their vehicle.
    The relief applies regardless of the motor carrier or origin of the trip, as long as the motor carrier or driver are providing direct assistance.
     
  2. Does the Extension expand upon the original Emergency Declaration issued by the State of Maryland?

    The Extension of Emergency Declaration continues the relief from Federal hours-of-service requirements in 49 CFR §§ 395.3 for motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance to the immediate restoration of essential services and reopening of the navigable waters into the Port of Baltimore.

    In addition, the Extension grants relief from 49 CFR § 395.3(a)(3)(i) to motor carriers and drivers engaged in the transport of commodities rerouted from the Port of Baltimore to other east coast ports. This relief extends the maximum 11-hour driving time for property-carrying vehicles by a maximum of two additional hours. Examples of commodities include fuel, intermodal freight, including shipping containers and their contents, automobiles, or other equipment transported in roll-on/roll-off operations such as heavy-duty machinery and farm equipment.

    Finally, the Extension allows drivers and motor carriers that are not currently required to use an ELD under 49 CFR § 395.8(a), such as motor carriers and drivers that typically operate under the short-haul exemption related to Port of Baltimore operations, and who are not currently required to use ELDs and do not currently have an ELD installed in the vehicle, to continue to engage in necessary freight activities associated with the other provisions of the Extension without the installation of an ELD as required under 49 CFR § 395.8(a)(1)(i). However, carriers and drivers using this relief are required to prepare and maintain paper logs and supporting documents while operating under the relief granted in this Extension. 
     
  3. I see the extension mentions relief from some hours-of-service requirements for fuel transportation rerouted from the Port of Baltimore, is this relief limited to specific areas around Baltimore?

    Yes. Motor carriers and drivers transporting fuel (gasoline, ethanol, propane, natural gas, and heating oil) from Maryland’s Curtis Bay terminal (within the Baltimore Marine Terminal area) for delivery to Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Cecil County, Frederick County, Harford County, Howard County, Queen Anne’s County, and Washington County are granted emergency relief from 49 CFR § 395.3(a)(3)(i). This relief applies to the maximum 11-hour driving time for property-carrying vehicles and allows up to a maximum of two additional hours for motor carrier and drivers engaged in fuel transport under this Extension. Transporting fuel to locations other than those listed is NOT covered under this extension. 
     
  4. Does the emergency relief from Federal hours-of-service regulations included in the Extension apply to motor carriers and commercial motor vehicle drivers who are NOT directly supporting emergency response efforts to reopen the Port of Baltimore and adjacent waterways but whose operations have been impacted by the bridge collapse?

    Motor carriers and drivers engaged in the transportation of freight rerouted from the Port of Baltimore to other East coast ports and fuel from the Curtis Bay terminal as outlined in the Extension are granted limited relief from some hours-of-service requirements. Motor carriers and drivers who are not transporting freight rerouted from the Port of Baltimore, but whose routes may be detoured due to the bridge collapse, are not covered by this Extension. Please read the Extension carefully to determine what relief applies to your specific operation.  
     
  5. Does emergency relief from Federal regulations due to the Extension of Emergency Declaration provide commercial vehicle drivers with relief from electronic logging device (ELD) requirements?

    Motor carriers and drivers identified as covered under Section III.A of the Extension who are currently not required to use an ELD, including those currently operating under the short-haul exception under 49 CFR § 395.1(e), are granted temporary emergency relief from the requirements under 49 CFR § 395.8(a) relating to ELD installation and use if they do not already have an ELD installed. Please note that such carriers are required to prepare and maintain paper records of duty status and supporting documents. For example, if motor carriers are operating beyond the limitations of the short-haul exception (14 hours, 150 air miles, and dispatch/return) in response to Port of Baltimore freight rerouting to other East coast ports, then drivers are required to prepare and maintain paper logs and supporting documents of their duty status while operating under this Extension.  
     
  6. How long will the relief from Federal hours-of-service regulations and other provisions be in effect?

    Unless FMCSA takes action to terminate the Extension, the relief provided in the Extension expires at the end of the emergency, or on May 8, 2024, whichever is earlier. 
     
  7. Can FMCSA extend the emergency relief from Federal regulations beyond May 8, 2024?

    Yes. FMCSA may extend the period of regulatory relief. Interested parties, including states, motor carriers and drivers, may request an extension by explaining why the extension is needed in an email to FMCSA’s emergency declarations mailbox, FMCSAdeclaration@dot.gov.  
     
  8. Are there any options for motor carriers and drivers whose operations have been impacted by the bridge collapse and are not covered under the Extension of Emergency Declaration to request regulatory relief from Federal hours-of-service regulations?

    Yes. Motor carriers and drivers may request a waiver or exemption from certain Federal motor carrier regulations, such as the Federal hours-of-service regulations and electronic logging device requirements.

    The procedure for requesting waivers and exemptions can be found in Subpart B of 49 CFR Part 381. Waivers are limited in duration to three months. Exemptions may be issued for up to five years.

    The request must be sent to the Acting Deputy Administrator via email to mcpsd@dot.gov or by traditional mail to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE., Washington, DC 20590–0001. Requests should include information such as why the waiver or exemption is needed, how many drivers or vehicles will be operating under the waiver or exemption, and an explanation of how you will ensure the equivalent level of safety is met as provided by complying with the existing regulations. Please refer to the regulation for specific requirements.  

     
  9. Are there specific routes in place for the transportation of hazardous materials and restricted loads?

    Yes. Please visit the Maryland Department of Transportation website for guidance.
    If your route takes you through Virginia, you may wish to visit Virginia Department of Transportation.
     
  10. I’m scheduled to transport a very wide load; how will I be impacted?

    Please visit the Maryland Department of Transportation website for  height and width restrictions for the Baltimore Harbor and Fort McHenry Tunnels as well as other roadways.  If your route takes you through Virginia, you may wish to visit Virginia Department of Transportation.
     
  11. Where can I find general information for commercial motor vehicle routing and detours?

    Please visit the Maryland Department of Transportation website for up-to-date information regarding traffic alerts and routing information. You can also follow the agency on social media at twitter.com/TheMDTA and twitter.com/MDOTNews. If you are traveling through Virginia, you may wish to follow the Virginia Department of Transportation at twitter.com/vadot.
     
  12. Will FMCSA provide additional outreach to motor carriers and drivers on the emergency relief from Federal hours-of-service requirements in this Extension? 

    Yes. In the coming days, FMCSA will conduct a virtual outreach session to provide information on the hours-of-service provisions in the Extension. A recording of the outreach session will be available on this site. Please continue to check this page for information on the upcoming outreach session.
    Additional hours-of-service guidance can be found on the FMCSA hours-of-service website. FMCSA’s Interstate Truck Driver’s Guide to Hours-of-Service can be found here.