FMCSA extends emergency declaration until Aug. 14

July 13, 2020

Land Line Staff

|

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is going to extend its emergency declaration for another month, the agency’s acting Administrator Jim Mullen announced on Monday, July 13 at the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee meeting.

The declaration, which provides relief from hours-of-service regulations for commercial motor vehicle drivers responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, has been extended until Aug. 14. It had been set to expire July 14.

“The extension of Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 provides regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations providing direct assistance in support of emergency relief efforts related to COVID-19 and is limited to transportation of (1) livestock and livestock feed; (2) medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19; and (3) 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,” the FMCSA notice stated.

On March 13, FMCSA issued its first federal hours-of-service waiver in the history of the agency. That waiver was expanded on March 18 and then extended and further expanded on April 8. In June, the declaration was extended to July 14.

Now, the unprecedented federal waiver is set to last at least five months.

However, there have been some changes since the original waiver. In June, FMCSA removed some of the categories that previously qualified.

“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 wrote. “FMCSA has concluded that there is no longer a need for emergency relief with respect to the other categories of supplies, equipment and persons covered by the May 13 extension and expansion of Emergency Declaration No. 2020-02, and those categories are therefore no longer covered.”

The agency also emphasized that the declaration doesn’t give motor carriers the ability to make truckers haul a load even when they say they are tired.

“Motor carriers shall not require or allow fatigued drivers to operate a commercial motor vehicle,” FMCSA wrote. “A driver who informs a carrier that he or she needs immediate rest shall be given at least 10 consecutive hours before the driver is required to return to service.”

The MCSAC meetings will continue on Tuesday, July 14. MCSAC is a committee of industry stakeholders who advise the FMCSA on safety issues. OOIDA President Todd Spencer serves on the committee.

WW Williams