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FMCSA again extends nationwide HOS waiver for COVID-19 relief haulers through the fall

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended through fall 2022 an emergency declaration providing regulatory relief for drivers hauling livestock, vaccines, fuel, food, and other supplies.

On August 31, 2022, the FMCSA issued an extension through October 15, 2022, for an Emergency Declaration to provide regulatory relief from 49 CFR § 395.3 (maximum driving time for property-carrying vehicles) for drivers who are providing direct assistance during the pandemic.

The FMCSA says that it opted to extend the regulatory relief “because the presidentially declared emergency remains in place, persistent issues arising out of COVID-19 continue to affect the U.S. including impacts on supply chains, and nationwide reporting continues to demonstrate substantial ongoing use of the regulatory relief under Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002.”

The previously issued extension was issued on May 27, 2022, and was set to expire on August 31, 2022.

The waiver extension applies to truck drivers who are hauling the following supplies in direct support of COVID-19 relief efforts:

  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
  6. Gasoline, diesel, diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), jet fuel, ethyl alcohol, and heating fuel including propane, natural gas, and heating oil

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.

Motor carriers that voluntarily operate under the terms of this extension are required to report to the FMCSA within 5 days after the end of each month. 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 modified many times throughout the pandemic.

You can view the waiver extension here.

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