Transportation Law Update: Governor Reynolds Extends the Disaster Emergency Declaration - Potential August Termination for Critical Trucking Operations

08.05.2020

On July 24, 2020, Governor Reynolds signed an additional extension of her Disaster Emergency Declaration in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This extension will expire at midnight on August 23, 2020.

The regulatory provisions regarding the movement of oversized and underweight loads for certain commodities are still temporarily suspended. These specific commodities include: “vaccines, antivirals, prescription drugs, protective equipment, other necessary medical assets food, medical supplies, cleaning products, other household goods, agriculture supplies and commodities (including, but not limited to, livestock, raw milk, and crop supplies), agricultural waste (including, but not limited to, animal carcasses), or any other goods and supplies necessary to respond to this public health disaster and its economic effect and require a permit to transport such loads.” This suspension applies to all highways in Iowa, but does not include the interstate. The continued allowance cannot exceed the gross weight of 90,000 pounds or the maximum axle weight of 20,000 pounds.

The hours of service regulations have also been suspended when transporting the specific commodities listed above. There is no exemption from controlled substance and alcohol use and testing requirements or commercial drivers’ license requirements. A driver must receive at least ten consecutive hours off before returning to service. At a driver's request, a commercial motor carrier transporting these specific commodities, is required to give the minimum of 34 consecutive hours off if over the course of 8 consecutive days, the driver has worked more than 70 hours.

The regulatory provision regarding the issuance of permits for oversize or overweight loads has been suspended to allow for permits to be issued for divisible loads relating and responding to the pandemic. The regulatory provision requiring vehicles under a permit to register for a gross weight has been waived. This only applies if the load and the vehicle is responding or recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Iowa Department of Transportation is monitoring this emergency proclamation to ensure public safety and aid the transportation of these specific commodities.

Contact John F. Fatino for more information at (515) 288-6041 or fatino@whitfieldlaw.com. Elaina J. Steenson, J.D. Candidate, Drake University, assisted in the preparation of these materials.

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