FMCSA Extends Relief Period

FMCSA Extends Relief Period Again for Bridge Collapse Relief

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended the emergency declaration that followed the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore, providing relief to truck drivers and commercial carriers offering direct assistance in response to the incident. This extension, effective from May 8, will last until June 8.

FMCSA Extends Relief Period: Background of the Declaration

Maryland Governor Wes Moore issued the initial emergency declaration on March 26, the day of the bridge collapse. FMCSA extended the declaration on April 4 for 30 days ending May 8. However, with the continuing disruption of distribution operations and the partial closure of the Port of Baltimore, FMCSA has renewed the declaration through June 8.

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Scope of the Declaration

Truck drivers and commercial motor vehicle operators are granted specific regulatory relief while transporting goods and equipment in support of emergency relief efforts related to the bridge collapse and partial port closure.

Key Relief Measures Include:

  1. Restoration of Essential Services:

    • Transportation-related to the immediate restoration of essential services at the Port of Baltimore and adjacent navigable waterways.
  2. Rerouted Commodities:

    • Transportation of commodities rerouted due to vessel traffic disruptions into the Port, subject to restrictions.
  3. Fuel Transportation:

    • Transportation of fuel (gasoline, ethanol, propane, natural gas, and heating oil) from Maryland’s Curtis Bay terminal to several locations in Maryland, including:
      • Anne Arundel County
      • Baltimore City
      • Baltimore County
      • Carroll County
      • Cecil County
      • Frederick County
      • Harford County
      • Howard County
      • Queen Anne’s County
      • Washington County

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Driving Time Regulations and Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Requirements:

  • Maximum Driving Time:
    • Drivers transporting rerouted commodities or fuel are granted relief from maximum driving-time regulations in 49 CFR § 395.3(a)(3)(i), allowing up to two additional hours of driving time.
  • Electronic Logging Device (ELD):
    • Drivers not currently required to use an ELD and operating under the short-haul operations exception in 49 CFR § 395.1(e) are also granted relief from ELD requirements. Instead, they must maintain paper logs and supporting documents while operating under this extension.

Additional Guidelines:

  • Relief measures are limited to direct assistance for emergency relief efforts. Mixed loads with nominal emergency relief quantities do not qualify.
  • Drivers or motor carriers under an out-of-service order are not eligible for this relief.
  • Compliance with all other federal, state, and local laws remains mandatory.

Continual Review and Modifications:

If necessary, FMCSA will monitor the situation and may modify the declaration’s scope or duration. As Acting Deputy Administrator Sue Lawless noted, FMCSA intends to “continually review the status of the emergency and the relief granted.”

Interstate 695 Closure:

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has approved an emergency deletion from the National Network for the portion of Interstate 695 that requires reconstruction. The Maryland Transportation Authority, which owns the Key Bridge, closed I-695 indefinitely on March 26. Truckers should be aware of alternate routes proposed by the authority.

Looking Ahead

FMCSA’s declaration extension ensures that commercial truck drivers providing essential assistance receive much-needed regulatory relief while facilitating the restoration of normal operations in Baltimore.

The trucking community is encouraged to follow developments and comply with FMCSA and Maryland regulations as they work to rebuild critical infrastructure and services.


  • FMCSA Emergency Declaration No. 2024-002
  • FHWA Notice (May 8, 2024)
  • Image Source – REUTERS/Nathan Howard

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