FMCSA extends COVID-19 emergency declaration through August

May 26, 2021

Land Line Staff

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will again extend its emergency declaration to provide regulatory relief for truck drivers providing direct assistance in relief efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

FMCSA’s emergency declaration, which provides relief from hours-of-service regulations for motor carriers and commercial motor vehicle drivers, was set to expire May 31. The extension will run through Aug. 31. The declaration applies to all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

“This extension of the expanded modified emergency declaration addresses national emergency conditions that create a need for immediate transportation of essential supplies, and provides necessary relief from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations for motor carriers and drivers,” FMCSA wrote.

FMCSA first issued the emergency declaration on March 13, 2020, and since has been modified and extended several times.

The agency said 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.”

The extension is limited to transportation of:

  • 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.

FMCSA said 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 also noted that motor carriers shall not require or allow fatigued drivers to operate a commercial motor vehicle. A driver who informs a carriers that he or she needs immediate rest must be given at least 10 consecutive hours before the driver is required to return to service. LL

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