The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has brought an end to an emergency declaration providing regulatory relief for truckers hauling certain supplies during the pandemic after more than two years.
The previous Emergency Declaration extension issued on August 31, 2022, continued to provide regulatory relief from 49 CFR § 395.3 (maximum driving time for property-carrying vehicles) for drivers providing direct assistance during the pandemic.
That Declaration extension expired on October 15, 2022, and was not renewed. The FMCSA website currently states that there are no active federal emergency declarations.
The HOS waiver applied to truck drivers hauling certain supplies, including food, vaccines, medical supplies, livestock, and fuel.
In September 2022, the FMCSA requested public comment on whether there was continued need for the COVID-19 HOS waiver. While many smaller motor carriers and livestock haulers argued in favor of leaving the declaration in place, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) asked the FMCSA to end the waiver.
From the ATA:
While ATA appreciated the Emergency Declaration Relief throughout the early stages of the pandemic, most ATA members no longer feel continued relief is necessary. ATA members continue to voice concerns that continuing regulatory relief may be used to circumvent the hours-of-service regulations or foster abuse of the regulations. As the nation moves toward the end of the public health emergency, most of our membership believe the extension of the emergency declaration relief should be allowed to expire.
The original FMCSA emergency waiver was issued in March 2020 under the Trump administration and was extended and modified many times throughout the pandemic.