Gov. Bill Lee declared a state of emergency Wednesday after freezing temperatures have raised concerns over the accessibility of petroleum fuel, propane gas and other heating fuels to citizens across the state.
"Many Tennesseans rely on fuel to keep their homes and businesses running, which is critical during freezing weather," Lee wrote in a social media post. "Executive Order 76 ensures an uninterrupted supply of heating fuel by allowing maximum transportation flexibility for the energy sector."
The state of emergency provides for temporary exceptions from federal rules and regulations regarding the transportation of heating fuels, utility supplies and utility crews. Specifically, the executive order provides an exception for regulations outlined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, regulations that limit the amount of time drivers are permitted to drive during a 24-hour period.
While the executive order allows for drivers to exceed normal driving time limits, the order still stipulates that drivers who declare that they "need immediate rest" are given at least ten consecutive hours off before being required to return to service.
The executive order will be in effect for 10 days and is set to expire on Feb. 27.