As of Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Transportation made an emergency declaration aimed at easing the movement of commercial vehicles transporting supplies and equipment needed to combat wildfire activity.
Motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance to the forest firefighting efforts in Oregon, Washington and California will be granted relief from some federal trucking regulations, according to a press release from the Oregon Department of Transportation.
Drivers must notify motor carriers or law enforcement officers that what they’re hauling is in support of firefighting efforts during the declared emergency. These drivers will be allowed to exceed the limit of miles a commercial driver can drive in a 24 hour period and truck inspections at weigh stations will be expedited. They will not be required to track their driving time and exemptions will be made for some equipment and load securement standards.
This is all aimed at reducing the time needed to inspect these vehicles in order to allow them to reach their destinations at a faster rate. Obvious equipment issues like flat tires will still be addressed at inspections and regulations on controlled substances and alcohol use and testing requirements, commercial driver’s license requirements, insurance requirements, compliance with hazardous material regulations and compliance with applicable size and weight requirements are all still in place.
“It all adds up to getting them back on the road as quickly as possible unless something obvious needs to be addressed,” said David House, a spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation.