Iowa waives hours, weight regulations for fuel haulers.
The continuing disaster caused by COVID-19 shows little sign of abating. Instead of sitting by and watching the COVID-19 pandemic, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds used emergency powers to limit the impact of petroleum shortages. As part of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, Iowa’s Governor declares some large trucks would be exempt from the traditional regulations. The emergency relief act allows haulers of petroleum gas and petroleum products to avoid the usual restrictions on weight if they are hauling goods used to limit the impact of the pandemic.
What did Governor Reynolds Do?
The declaration of a national emergency by President Donald Trump allowed several powers to be enacted by regional governments. In Iowa, the Governor used her powers to limit the impact of petroleum shortages by:
- Limiting permit requirements for oversized loads
- Eliminated gross weight restrictions on some haulers
- Removed service hours limitations for haulers of petroleum and petroleum products
The Iowa Department of Transport reports the declaration from the Office of the Governor was first signed in March of 2020 and has been extended on several occasions. The continued problems caused by COVID-19 have forced several states into emergency actions. However, Iowa has acted to keep the flow of petroleum moving into its state during the pandemic.
What are the reasons for the guidelines?
There have been several problems caused by the pandemic for the people and businesses of Iowa. Among these issues have been fuel shortages caused by a halt in production early in the pandemic. Issues with the movement of goods and petroleum products have been seen over the last year. Iowa’s reliance on petroleum products moving from ports around the U.S. has caused delays and shortages for several months. Fuel outages have been seen throughout the last 18 months leading to the Governor of Iowa taking action to keep petroleum trucks on the road.
Who is Affected by the Declaration?
Several groups are positively affected by the emergency declaration, including those in industries directly affected by the pandemic. Several haulers of products will push trucks into Iowa without the usual limitations, including bringing food, medical supplies, and livestock to the state. Iowa’s Governor believes the impact of the pandemic on the economy of the state will be negative for the future unless drastic action is taken to halt the financial losses.
What has Changed?
The new regulations are part of an emergency declaration signed into law for the short term by the Governor of Iowa regularly. Fuel haulers and trucks carrying petroleum products over 90,000 pounds are usually subject to regulations and restrictions on drivers. The emergency declaration signed by Governor Reynolds allows a range of restrictions to be lifted for the duration of the pandemic.
Among the restrictions that are affected are:
- Driving limits on drivers who are delivering products in Iowa
- Loads do not exceed the axle limits of 20,000 pounds
- Loads must not be dangerous when compared to local bridge and highway weight and height limits
The lifting of restrictions does not affect all haulers on the roads and highways of Iowa. Those who are not hauling goods and products that will ease the financial and medical burden on the state must still apply for the traditional permits.
Keeping Drivers Safe
The majority of haulers and drivers welcomed the proclamation by Governor Reynolds. However, some concern was raised about the safety of drivers and other highway users. The removal of service limits on drivers had raised concern about the safety of drivers moving along the highways of Iowa. To protect the drivers and vehicles of the state, the declaration makes provision for drivers in Iowa to remain safe from becoming tired during their extended driving time.
The provisions made for the safety of drivers include any driver complaining of tiredness is given at least ten consecutive hours to rest. It remains the responsibility of drivers and haulage companies to ensure their drivers are not tired or ill when they are operating their vehicles. The latest declaration from Iowa explains that the limits on haulage operators carrying out service warnings will not be ignored.
The removal of limitations during the emergency declaration will bring about a lack of records among haulage companies. The records that need to be kept by each haulage company must be maintained for no less than one year after products are delivered. The maintenance of records will continue to be an important part of staying within the required regulations of the state of Iowa.
When will the Emergency Declaration Expire?
The use of the traditional permitting requirements has been pushed back by the Governor’s Office on several occasions. The latest declaration will remain in effect and could be extended beyond its July expiration.