The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has amended its current pandemic emergency declaration extension to include additional fuel products.

On Friday, May 13, the FMCSA issued an amendment to expand the types of fuel products that are currently exempt under a federal Hours of Service (HOS) waiver for drivers hauling certain supplies during the pandemic.

Under the new amendment, drivers hauling propane, natural gas, or heating oil are now covered under the scope of the waiver. Previously, the only fuel products that qualified were gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and ethyl alcohol.

The current extension of an Emergency Declaration was issued on February 26, 2022, and is valid through May 31, 2022. The extension provides relief from Parts 390 through 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), which includes HOS requirements, for drivers who are providing direct assistance during the pandemic.

See below for the types of supplies now included in the Emergency Declaration extension.

  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 disinfectant
  5. Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores
  6. Gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, ethyl alcohol, and heating fuel including propane, natural gas, and heating oil
  7. 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 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 several times throughout the pandemic.

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