FHWA gives states permission to allow food trucks at rest areas

April 6, 2020

Land Line Staff


The Federal Highway Administration is giving states permission to allow food trucks in rest areas to serve truck drivers.

“America’s commercial truck drivers are working day and night during this pandemic to ensure critical relief supplies are being delivered to our communities,” FHWA Administrator Nicole R. Nason said in a news release. “I am grateful to our state transportation partners for bringing this idea to the department and for their leadership in thinking outside the box. It is critical to make sure truck drivers continue to have access to food services while they’re on the job serving our nation during these challenging times.”

The FHWA issued on April 3 a notice to state departments of transportation that the agency was suspending enforcement under the federal-aid highway program for states that choose to permit commercial food trucks to operate and sell food, in accordance with state laws, in designated federally funded interstate highway rest areas.

Commercial activity in federally funded rest areas has been prohibited. Nason said the COVID-19 pandemic, however, has led the agency to give states the choice to allow food trucks in the rest areas. President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on March 13.

“FHWA also recognizes that in such circumstances, vending machines may not be adequate to provide the necessary sustenance, and in many cases the vending machines may not be regularly stocked at the present time,” the agency note stated.

Permission is temporary

The actions are temporary, and states must come back into compliance with federal law once the national emergency declaration ends. Any states that do not come back into compliance after the emergency is over may be subject to remedial measures designed to achieve compliance, the FHWA said.

“This notice does not affect any other federal, state, or local requirements that apply to food trucks, and it does not authorize food trucks to operate in violation of federal, state, or local requirements, including any state and local orders responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency,” the FHWA wrote.

Other coverage.

Lawmakers have been thanking truck drivers for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. OOIDA wants the respect to continue after the crisis. Check out this story.