FMCSA extends COVID-19 emergency declaration through August

May 31, 2022

Mark Schremmer

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s COVID-19 emergency declaration continues to be a part of the trucking reality.

On May 27, the FMCSA extended the declaration, which provides regulatory relief for truckers providing direct assistance with the delivery of emergency supplies, for another three months. The extension through the end of August means that the emergency declaration is set to remain in effect for at least two-and-a-half years.

FMCSA’s latest version of the emergency waiver removes building materials for individuals displaced as a result of the emergency as one of the qualifying loads. Heating fuel, which the agency added to the list on May 13, remains part of the exemption.

According to FMCSA, direct assistance means “transportation and other relief services provided by a motor carrier or its driver(s) incident to the immediate restoration of essential services (such as medical care) or essential supplies related to COVID-19 during the emergency.”

Regulatory relief is limited to the following loads:

  • Livestock and livestock feed.
  • Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.
  • Vaccines, constituent products, and medical supplies and equipment, including ancillary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines, related to the prevention 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.
  • Gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, ethyl alcohol and heating fuel, including propane, natural gas and heating oil.

FMCSA’s prevision extension was set to expire on May 31.

This version of the emergency declaration is scheduled to run through Aug. 31.

The most recent version of the emergency declaration provides an exemption only from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations’ 395.3, which sets a maximum driving time for property-carrying vehicles. Previous declarations covered parts 390-399 of the FMCSR with some exceptions. Of note, the exemption no longer covers 395.8(a), 395.8(k) and 395.11 related to driver’s records of duty status, supporting documents, and retention of driver’s records of duty status and supporting documents, as well as subpart B of part 395 related to electronic logging devices.

The federal waiver has been in effect in some form since March 2020.

In a separate emergency declaration, FMCSA recently provided regulatory relief for motor carriers who are transporting baby formula or the ingredients needed for production. That declaration is set to run through June 30.  LL

 

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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.