Ahead of Winter Storm, Sanders Waives Federal Regulations Restricting Hours of Service for Utility Trucks and Trucks Hauling Essential Items

TO ALL TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS COME – GREETINGS:                          
 
WHEREAS: On or about January 14, 2024, severe winter weather is expected to strike Arkansas and cause dangers, hardships, and suffering throughout the state, which in turn, warrants this executive action;
 
WHEREAS: Adverse circumstances could be brought to bear upon citizens and properties throughout the state as a result of such weather; and
 
WHEREAS: The weather-related conditions could create the need for commercial vehicles to haul heavy equipment, oversized loads, transformers, necessary hardware, and other transmission and distribution equipment for the purpose of restoring utility services to the citizens of the State of Arkansas.  
 
WHEREAS: The weather-related conditions could result in a backlog of deliveries by commercial vehicles transporting essential items of commerce to customers in Arkansas.  
 
WHEREAS: Pursuant to 49 CFR §390.23, a motor carrier or driver operating a commercial motor vehicle shall be exempt from 49 CFR §§ 395.3 and 395.5 for up to 14 days following the declaration of an emergency by the Governor of a State, so long as the motor carrier or driver is providing direct assistance in response to the declared emergency. 
 
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, acting under the authority vested in me as Governor of the State of Arkansas and pursuant to Act 511 of 1973, as amended, do hereby declare:
 

1. That a state of emergency exists in the State of Arkansas as applied to commercial vehicles hauling heavy equipment, oversized loads, transformers, necessary hardware, and other transmission and distribution equipment for the purpose of restoring service to citizens and properties in Arkansas;  

2. To commercial carriers transporting essential items of commerce to customers in Arkansas during this emergency, including but not limited to groceries, pharmacy items, medical equipment, goods, commodities, fuel, poultry, livestock, and feed; 

3. That a state of emergency exists in the State of Arkansas as applied to emergency response vehicles, such as, but not limited to, utility vehicles, bucket trucks, and electric utility supply trucks responding to the storms and related damage. These emergency response vehicles are authorized to bypass all Arkansas Department of Transportation weigh station facilities through January 26, 2024. This authorization does not include vehicles that require permits to operate on Arkansas’ roadways. This authorization does not relieve size and weight restrictions. This declaration only applies to weigh stations and to vehicles traveling in convoy; and

4. This emergency shall remain in effect until January 26, 2024, unless otherwise terminated by amendment to this order.
 

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of Arkansas to be affixed this 12th day of January, in the year of our Lord 2024.