North Dakota is home to 39,300,000 acres of farmland and is responsible for over $4 billion in agricultural exports every year. Like most states west of the Mississippi River, the Peace Garden State is in desperate need of water. So much so that the state government is declaring a state of emergency to help keep its farms running.
Should you plan to haul hay or livestock to North Dakota, you may be able to haul more for longer.
The entire declaration can be read on the FMCSA webpage. Interestingly enough, the declaration mentions the desperate need for water across the nation, but the wording of the conditions omit any mentions of water, so the regulations regarding the hauling of water itself are muddy.
The three most important takeaways from the declaration are:
- Routes normally restricted to hauling up to 75 feet in length are temporarily extended to 95 feet.
- Routes normally restricted to 80,000 pounds in gross vehicle weight are increased to 105,000 pounds, with fees temporarily waived.
- Hours-of-service regulations follow the typical emergency suspension. A driver may drive until they feel tired or complete the shipment, but if he or she has gone beyond the typical on-duty hours as a result, they must take a break of ten hours or more.
Other nuances, such as amber lights for nighttime driving, also apply.
North Dakota is the first state to implement a state of emergency directly caused by the drought (Idaho and others have issued states of emergency due to wildfires exacerbated by the drought, but that is an indirect declaration as the main reason was the wildfire). With everyone scrambling for water, other states may follow suit soon enough.
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