Hours of Service Rule Suspended in Carolinas Due to Record Floods
Parts of South Carolina and North Carolina are experiencing record-breaking flooding due to Hurricane Joaquin dropping buckets of rain on the East Coast for five days. Whole sections of roads and bridges have been washed away, and as of Monday afternoon, 375 roads and 161 bridges remained closed in South Carolina alone, where parts of the state was deluged with over two feet of water. South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) acting secretary Christy A. Hall said, “The flood-swollen rivers in the Midlands are tributaries that feed into the rivers that move down into the southern portion of the state. The threat of more flooding is still very real.” As of Oct 5th, there were six reported deaths.
The torrential rains were so excessive and damaging that the hours-of-service rule and size and weight limits have been suspended for truckers in the affected areas. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory issued the order on Oct 1st to suspend the federal rules for drivers carrying “equipment, materials, services, supplies, food, fuel timber, debris and other items in response to flooding.”
President Barack Obama declared South Carolina to be in a state of emergency. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signing an order on Oct 2nd allowing an exemption for S.C. drivers hauling “essential fuels, food, water, medical supplies, debris removal, feed for livestock and poultry, transporting livestock and poultry and for vehicles used in the restoration of utility services”. Specific size and weight limits have been lifted while the states are attempting to bring help to the devastated areas. Both governors gave the notice about a 30 day or less end date.
There are several reports from truck drivers at work who experienced the dangers of being in flooding area first hand. One such trucker was trying to travel over a small bridge on U.S. 15 that crossed over White’s Mill Pond when it collapsed underneath him.
Mike Anguelov, an OOIDA member from West Bend, Wisconsin said he was going about 25 mph when the truck in front of him looked to be in distress. He said he saw pieces flying off the truck and thought a tire blew out but it was really
the bridge collapsing. “There was no water on the road,” Anguelov said. “If I had five or six more seconds to react, I should have been able to stop, but there was no time to react. I saw this crack on the bridge, probably a meter-and-a-half or so, open right in front of me,” he said. “There was nothing I can do but jump on the brakes. I was just lucky the steer axles made it across the other side, because I’d have ended up in the middle of the river.” The quick thinking driver lost his front suspension in the incident.
After Hurricane Joaquin loomed over the Eastern Seaboard for five days, it turned east, avoiding New York and New Jersey. Some meteorologist expected the storm would strike the two cities with a force like 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, but luckily it spun out into the ocean instead. The Charleston Airport received 11.5 inches of rainfall this past Sunday, the most every recorded in a single day. Other places across the state reported up to 27 inches of rainfall over a four day period. The DOT reports that some roads and bridges will need extensive rebuilding before they can safely be traveled on again. There is a 74-mile section of Interstate 95 from I-26 to I-20 that is closed, as well as a part of I-26 in the Columbia/Lexington area at the Saluda River. The SCDOT released a statement asking all non-commercial motorists to stay off the roads as much as they can.