§390.23 Relief from regulations.
Does §390.23 create an exemption from the FMCSRs each and every time the delivery of electricity is interrupted, no matter how isolated or minor the occurrence?
Guidance: The rule creates an exemption from the FMCSRs when interruptions of electricity are severe enough to trigger a declaration of an emergency by a public official authorized to do so.
An interruption of electricity that does not produce a declaration by a public official is not an emergency for purposes of the regulation and does not exempt a motor carrier or driver from the FMCSRs. A call reporting a downed power line, whether directed to the State police or a public utility company, does not create a declared emergency.
The authority to declare emergencies has been delegated to different officials in the various States. The FHWA has not attempted to list these officials. In order to utilize the exemption provided by §390.23, drivers and motor carriers must therefore ascertain that a declaration of an emergency was made by a State or local official authorized to do so.
§390.23(a) provides that parts 390 through 399 do not apply to any motor carrier or driver operating a CMV to provide direct assistance in an emergency. Is a motor carrier or driver required to keep a record of the driver’s on-duty or driving time while providing relief?
After providing emergency relief under §390.23, what on-duty hours must a driver use to determine how much off-duty time he/she must have before returning to the service of the employing motor carrier?
Guidance: The driver must total the number of hours worked while the driver actually provided direct assistance to the emergency relief effort.
Upon termination of direct assistance to a regional or local emergency relief effort, as specified in §390.23(a), may utility company line crews return directly to the motor carrier’s terminal or the driver’s normal work reporting location without complying with Parts 390-399?
Guidance: Yes, provided drivers who ask for immediate rest are given 8 consecutive hours off-duty before returning to the terminal or other work reporting location. Because the returning vehicles are transporting only crew members, tools, equipment, or materials not used in the emergency relief effort, they are considered to be “return(ing) empty” for purposes of §390.23(b).
When an interstate tow truck operator responds to a request for assistance from a Federal, State or local police officer to move wrecked or disabled motor vehicles, what should the Record of Duty Status (RODS) required by Section 395.8 reflect for the time spent in the exempt status?
Guidance: The time spent responding to the police call is exempt under Section 390.23(a)(3). The entry on the RODS for the time spent in this activity should be entered as “exempt,” or “exempt under Section 390.23(a)(3).” Any time logged by the driver while engaged in activities that are NOT exempt must be accounted for on the RODS, but exempt time is not included in the computation of maximum driving time under Section 395.3. Please note that this exemption is only operative during the time that the tow truck operator is providing direct assistance to the emergency, or twenty-four hours from the time of the request, whichever is less. The driver and the motor carrier are also at all times subject to the prohibitions of Section 392.3 pertaining to ill or fatigued drivers. Section 390.23(c) applies to local and regional emergencies, not tow truck emergency operations.