FMCSA extends historic 50 state COVID-19 waiver into 2021, expands to include vaccines

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has once again extended an emergency declaration providing regulatory relief for truckers hauling COVID-19 relief supplies.

On December 1, FMCSA issued an extension and expansion of a 50 state emergency declaration issued in March 2019 in response to the pandemic. The waiver is now effective through February 28, 2021.

The waiver provides relief from Parts 390 through 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), which includes Hours of Service requirements, for drivers who are providing direct assistance during the COVID-19 crisis.

The previous waiver issued on September 11 was set to expire on December 31, 2020.

The new waiver expands the types of loads that are covered by the waiver to include vaccines. See the full list of eligible freight types below:

  1. Livestock and livestock feed
  2. Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19
  3. Vaccines, constituent products, and medical supplies and equipment including ancillary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines, related to the prevention of COVID-19
  4. Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants
  5. Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.

“Direct assistance does not include routine commercial deliveries, including mixed loads with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief added to obtain the benefits of this emergency declaration,” the FMCSA states.

The FMCSA also reiterated that the HOS waiver does not give motor carriers the right to compel fatigued drivers to operate. Any driver who informs a motor carrier that they need rest is to be given 10 hours before they are required to return to duty.

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