The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has again extended a waiver offering regulatory relief to truck drivers hauling certain supplies in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
On August 31, the FMCSA issued an extension through November 30, 2021, for an Emergency Declaration to provide 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 pandemic.
The waiver applies to truck drivers who are hauling the following supplies in direct support of COVID-19 relief efforts:
- Livestock and livestock feed
- Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19;
- Vaccines, constituent products, and medical supplies and equipment including ancillary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines, related to the prevention of COVID-19
- 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
- Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores
- Gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and ethyl alcohol
- Supplies to assist individuals impacted by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., building materials for individuals displaced or otherwise impacted as a result of the emergency).
The previous FMCSA waiver extension was issued on May 26, 2021 and was set to expire on August 31, 2021. This waiver did not include fuel or supplies to assist individuals impacted by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in the list of goods that were eligible for exemption.
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.
New to this extension is a requirement that truckers who use the waiver report that use to the FMCSA: “Motor carriers that voluntarily operate under the terms of this extension and amendment of Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 are to report within 5 days after the end of each month their reliance on the Declaration. To report, motor carriers will access their portal account at https://portal.fmcsa.dot.gov/login, log-in with their FMCSA portal credentials, and access the Emergency Declaration Reporting under the Available FMCSA Systems section of the page.”
Drivers operating under the waiver must still adhere to controlled substance and alcohol uses and testing requirements, the commercial driver’s license requirements, the hazardous material safety permit requirements, the financial responsibility (insurance) requirements, the hazardous material regulations, and vehicle size, length, width, and weight limitations, as well as route designations.
The original FMCSA emergency waiver was issued in March 2020 under the Trump administration and has since been extended and expanded several times as the pandemic lingers.
Please click here to view the waiver.