COVID-19 leads to first federal HOS waiver

May 2020

Land Line Staff

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Throughout March and into April, regulations were eased and waivers granted to aid truck drivers as they played a critical role during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first major change came on March 13, when the FMCSA announced an emergency declaration, providing hours-of-service regulatory relief to truckers transporting emergency supplies. It was the first federal hours-of-service waiver in the history of the agency.

On March 18, the agency expanded the declaration and provided more clarification to which items were covered.

“The nation’s truck drivers are on the front lines of this effort and are critical to America’s supply chain,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in a news release.

Emergency items included:

  • Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment 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.
  • Immediate precursor raw materials, such as paper, plastic or alcohol, that are required for the manufacture of essential items.
  • Equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine.
  • Persons designated by federal, state or local authorities for medical, isolation or quarantine purposes.
  • Persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services.

Other regulation changes and waivers related to COVID-19 included:

  • FMCSA not enforcing Temporary Operating Authority Registration fees.
  • FMCSA not granting, until June 30, waivers for expiring CDLs, commercial learner’s permits, and medical cards.
  • FMCSA issuing guidance regarding drug and alcohol testing requirements.
  • TSA granting exemptions from the renewal of hazmat endorsements for commercial drivers.

To keep up with all of the changes to regulations for truckers, check for daily updates on LandLine.media. LL