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FMCSA issues emergency regulation waiver in response to baby formula shortage

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) issued an emergency declaration providing regulatory relief for drivers hauling baby formula and related goods amidst a nationwide shortage.

On May 23, 2022, the FMCSA issued an emergency declaration for all 50 states and the District of Columbia providing relief from 49 CFR § 395.3 (maximum driving time for property-carrying vehicles) for truck drivers hauling supplies in direct support of the baby formula shortage.

“This Emergency Declaration addresses nationwide emergency conditions creating a need for immediate transportation of baby formula, ingredients for the production of baby formula including but not limited to whey, casein, corn syrup and hydrolyzed protein, and containers and packaging for baby formula, and provides necessary relief,” the FMCSA said.

The FMCSA points to the closure of a major formula manufacturing facility and product recall as causes for the shortage.

The regulation waiver only applies to drivers hauling goods in direct assistance of emergency efforts. “Direct assistance terminates when a driver or commercial motor vehicle is used in interstate commerce to transport cargo or provide services that are not in support of emergency relief efforts related to the emergency as set forth in this Emergency Declaration, or when the motor carrier dispatches a driver or commercial motor vehicle to another location to begin operations in commerce.  (49 CFR § 390.23(b)). Upon termination of direct assistance to emergency relief efforts related to the emergency as set forth in this Emergency Declaration, the motor carrier and driver are subject to the requirements of 49 CFR § 395.3 while operating commercial motor vehicles, except that a driver may return empty to the motor carrier’s terminal or the driver’s normal work reporting location without complying with 49 CFR § 395.3, except as noted herein. When a driver is moving from emergency relief efforts to normal operations, a 10-hour break is required when the total time a driver is engaged in emergency relief efforts, or in a combination of emergency relief and normal operations, equals 14 hours,” FMCSA notes.

The emergency declaration will remain in effect until the end of the emergency or June 30, 2022, whichever comes first.

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