FMCSA extends emergency declaration through November

August 31, 2021

Land Line Staff

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is extending its emergency declaration regarding pandemic relief efforts for another three months.

The emergency declaration provides regulatory relief for truck drivers providing direct assistance in relief efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

FMCSA announced on Tuesday, Aug. 31, that the declaration – which provides emergency relief from hours-of-service regulations for motor carriers and commercial motor vehicle drivers – would be extended through Nov. 30. The federal declaration was set to expire on Aug. 31.

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 running through November will provide exemption only from 395.3, which sets a maximum driving time for property-carrying vehicles.

FMCSA’s latest version of the declaration added fuel and supplies to assist individuals affected by the pandemic to the list of qualifying items.

The extension is limited to transportation of these items:

  • 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, and ethyl alcohol.
  • Supplies to assist individuals impacted by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, including building materials for individuals displaced as a result of the emergency.

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.

Further clarification regarding emergency hours-of-service declarations can be found here. LL

TBS