INDIANAPOLIS — In his first executive order issued in 2019, Gov. Eric Holcomb is temporarily suspending rules limiting the hours propane truck drivers can be on the road due record cold on the way and a shortage of drivers.

On Friday, Holcomb signed the executive order waiving “hours of service regulations relating to motor carriers and drivers transporting propane gas.”

Record-setting cold is in the forecast for much of the U.S. next week as frigid air from Sibera migrates and settles across the country. In northeast Indiana, forecasts for Tuesday have temperatures dipping into the 20s as a high, with lows overnight nearly touching single digits.

Holcomb’s order notes that propane is not only used for heating many homes, businesses and public buildings — especially in rural areas not served by underground natural gas utilities — but also for drying harvested crops.

“The unseasonably cold temperatures have greatly increased the demand for propane for home, business, and public building heating, for agricultural operations, and other needs, and the greater demand for propane is expected to continue during the next week,” the order readers.

On top of high demand due to the cold, many areas are facing supply shortages as well as a shortage of drivers, causing carriers to have to travel longer to obtain and deliver fuel to customers.

As such, the governor is temporarily suspending regulations dictating the maximum hours carriers can be on the road through Dec. 2, unless terminated early or extended by further action of the governor.

No other Motor Carriers Safety Regulations are affected by the order, only the rules regarding hours of service, the order states.

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