Florida Declares State of Emergency, Issues Trucking Waivers

On August 26, Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida issued Executive Order 23-171 due to a tropical depression expected to hit Florida’s coast on Tuesday. According to the Executive Order, it was issued “to ensure that the Florida Division of Emergency Management can begin staging resources and Floridians have plenty of time to prepare their families for a storm next week.”

Executive Order 23-171 is only applicable for 33 of Florida’s 67 counties including the following: Alachua, Bay, Calhoun, Charlotte, Citrus, Columbia, DeSoto, Dixie, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Gulf, Hamilton, Hardee, Hernando, Hillsborough, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lee, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Manatee, Marion, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor, and Wakulla.

Despite the Executive Order being applicable to only certain counties, Executive Order 23-171 authorizes the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) to suspend enforcement of the registration requirements (pursuant to sections 316. 545(4) and 320. 0715 of Florida Statutes) for commercial motor vehicles that enter Florida to provide emergency services or supplies, to transport emergency equipment, supplies or personnel, or to transport FEMA mobile homes or office style mobile homes into or from Florida. Further, the Governor authorized the waiver of hours-of-service requirements for such vehicles. Such waivers are not applicable to the interstate highway system.

Executive Order 23-171 also authorizes the Department of Transportation to waive the collection of tolls and other fees and charges for the use of the Turnpike and other public highways, and waive the size and weight restrictions for divisible loads on any vehicles transporting emergency equipment, services, supplies, and agricultural commodities.

The order expires 60 days from issue unless further amended. By Florida Statute, essential commodities are defined as, without limitation, food, water, ice, chemicals, petroleum products, and lumber necessary for consumption or use as a direct result of the emergency. Additional rules and restrictions apply. A copy of Executive Order 23-171 can be accessed by clicking here.

NTTC staff will continue to monitor this and other executive orders, and will broadcast updates when available.