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Legal Update Header On May 12, 2021, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced it would provide additional help to states affected by the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack.

The White House and USDOT have determined that previous declarations of a “major disaster” issued by the President within the last 120 days allow the states covered by those declarations to use their interstate highways to transport overweight loads of gasoline and other fuels.

Additional Help

States currently operating under Federal Major Disaster Declarations may issue special permits to overweight vehicles carrying divisible loads on interstate and defense highways—particularly vehicles that are delivering relief supplies, including gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other refined petroleum products. States may exercise this authority for 120 days from the date of the declaration of the major disaster.

Each state must continue to follow its own procedures for the issuance of special permits authorizing the loads. However, the added flexibility lawfully permits these trucks to run on the interstate highway system and other federal highways. This flexibility is in addition to the preexisting authority for states to issue special permits allowing the trucks to run on state highways. The 10 states affected were already covered by the emergency declaration issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on May 9, 2021. This declaration grants relief from the Federal hours of service limits and certain other safety regulations to truck drivers making emergency fuel deliveries in areas affected by the Colonial Pipeline disruption.

Employers Should Know

Previous presidential declarations created authority for up to 120 days. The affected states all have different expiration periods that range from now until early September.

Covered States

  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia


This Legal Update is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice. © 2021 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.


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