Gov. Abbott waives state trucking regulations to expedite delivery of supplies

AUSTIN, Texas (KTRK) -- Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster Friday as coronavirus continues to spread throughout the state.

Abbott said Texas public health labs have the capacity to test 273 people per day, with the ability to increase through the help of private labs.

READ MORE: What we know about the 25 Houston-area coronavirus cases

Among other changes that come with declaring a state of disaster, Abott announced he is waiving certain regulations related to commercial trucking.

The suspensions will expedite commercial vehicle delivery of more supplies in each truckload.

The waivers will be coordinated through the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

"As the State of Texas works to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus, we are taking precautionary measures to ensure that Texans have access to the goods and supplies they need," said Governor Abbott. "Suspending these state trucking regulations will improve our ability to deliver the necessary supplies throughout the state so that grocers and retailers are able to continually stock their shelves. I want to remind Texans that stockpiling resources is neither necessary nor productive. The State of Texas is prepared and will continue to take action to support our communities."

Three specific sets of statutes have been suspended:
  • The oversize and overweight permitting requirements under Transportation Code, Chapters 621 through 623, as well as Title 43, Chapter 219 of the Texas Administrative Code, for all divisible and non-divisible vehicles and loads
  • The International Registration Plan (IRP) vehicle registration under Transportation Code 502.091 and 43 Tex. Admin. Code 217.56, as long as the vehicle is registered in one of the 48 contiguous states of the United States
  • The 72-hour and 144-hour temporary registration permits under Transportation Code 502.094 and 43 Tex. Admin. Code 217.40(b)(3), as long as the vehicle is registered in one of the states of the United States

Another announcement Abbott made Friday is that the first drive-thru testing facility is now open in San Antonio, making it the first facility to do so in the state. It will initially be for first responders, health care workers, operators of critical infrastructure and key resources and certain high-risk patients.

Because it's so new, it's too soon to know how many people will be served.

The state is also working with Dallas and Austin to open drive-thru testing sites that will be managed at the local level.

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