FMCSA extends emergency declaration through end of 2020

September 14, 2020

Mark Schremmer

|

An emergency declaration, which provides relief from hours-of-service regulations for commercial motor vehicle drivers providing direct assistance for the COVID-19 pandemic, has been extended for the duration of 2020.

On Friday, Sept. 11, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration extended the federal waiver through Dec. 31, 2020. The waiver was scheduled to expire on Sept. 14.

The extension through the end of the year indicates that the crisis isn’t expected to end anytime soon. Previously, FMCSA had been extending the waiver in one-month chunks.

In March, FMCSA made history when it issued its first federal hours-of-service waiver. Now, the emergency declaration is set to last for more than nine months.

The waiver is limited to the transportation of:

  • Livestock and livestock feed.
  • Medical supplies and equipment related to the 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.

FMCSA said that 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.

Coercion not allowed

The agency also emphasizes that even though the waiver is in place “motor carriers shall not require or allow fatigued drivers to operate a commercial motor vehicle.” FMCSA said that any driver who informs a carrier that he or she needs immediate rest must be given at least 10 consecutive hours before the driver is required to return to service.

The waiver will continue until Dec. 31 or until President Donald Trump revokes the COVID-19 national emergency.

More information about the emergency declaration can be found here. Other updates from federal and state governments regarding the COVID-19 emergency can be found here.

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.