FMCSA’s emergency HOS waiver set to last at least five months

August-September 2020

Mark Schremmer

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In July, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced it was going to extend its emergency declaration for another month.

The declaration, which provides relief from hours-of-service regulations for commercial motor vehicle drivers responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, was extended until Aug. 14. It had been set to expire July 14.

“The extension of Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 provides regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations providing direct assistance in support of emergency relief efforts related to COVID-19 and is limited to transportation of (1) livestock and livestock feed; (2) medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19; and (3) 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,” the FMCSA notice stated.

On March 13, FMCSA issued its first federal hours-of-service waiver in the history of the agency. That waiver was expanded on March 18 and then extended and further expanded on April 8. In June, the declaration was extended until July 14.

Now, the unprecedented federal waiver is set to last at least five months.

However, there have been some changes since the original waiver. In June, FMCSA removed some of the categories that previously qualified.

“Direct assistance does not include routine commercial deliveries, including mixed loads with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief added to obtain the benefits of this emergency declaration,” the agency wrote. “FMCSA has concluded that there is no longer a need for emergency relief with respect to the other categories of supplies, equipment and persons covered by the May 13 extension and expansion of Emergency Declaration No. 2020-02, and those categories are therefore no longer covered.”

The agency also emphasized that the declaration doesn’t give motor carriers the ability to make truckers haul a load even when they say they are tired. LL

Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.