FMCSA releases FAQ for truckers on COVID-19 emergency declaration

March 20, 2020

Land Line Staff

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has published an updated list of frequently asked questions from truckers regarding the COVID-19 emergency declaration.

Among the questions addressed on the FAQ are questions about the 30-minute rest break, the 34-hour restart, and what a driver needs to do if backhauling

An FMCSA spokesman says the page will updated periodically with additional questions and answers.

Below are some examples of questions and answers from the site. You can view the full list here.

Are loads that include supplies related to direct assistance under the emergency declaration mixed with other, un-related materials covered under the declaration?

Generally, yes, however, mixed loads with only a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief added to obtain the benefits of this emergency declaration are not covered.

Is a driver required to take a 30-minute break?

No, none of the hours of service regulations apply while the driver is engaged with providing direct assistance under the emergency relief exemption.

How do the hours a driver worked under the emergency exemption impact the 60/70-hour rule when the driver goes back to normal operations?

The hours worked providing direct assistance under the emergency relief exemption do not count toward the 60/70- hour rule.

Is a 34-hour restart required after providing direct assistance under the emergency declaration?

No, however, upon completion of the direct assistance and prior to returning to normal operations, the driver is required to meet the requirements of §§ 395.3(a) and (c) and 395.5(a), which include, for example, the requirement to take 10 hours off duty (8 hours for passenger carriers) and to comply with the on-duty limit of 60/70 hours in 7/8 days before returning to driving.

If there is an ELD in the truck, what should a driver do to account for the miles driven?

There are three options.

  1. Use the “authorized personal use” (personal conveyance) function of the ELD to record all of the time providing direct assistance under the exemption.  Use of this function will result in the time being recorded as off duty and requires an annotation.
  2. Use the ELD in its normal mode and annotate the ELD record to indicate they were driving under the emergency relief exemption.
  3. Turn off the ELD, in which case the carrier would address the unassigned miles in accordance with the current regulation.

What does a driver need to do if taking a backhaul not covered by the exemption after transporting an exempt load?

Upon completion of the direct assistance activities and prior to returning to normal operations, the driver is required to take 10 consecutive hours off duty before driving. All the time the driver spends engaged in work-related activities that are not associated with providing direct assistance must be counted under the HOS rules.

Is livestock a covered commodity under the terms of the emergency declaration?

Yes, livestock is covered as a precursor to food. The emergency declaration covers “immediate precursor raw materials – such as paper, plastic or alcohol – that are required and to be used for the manufacture of items” including food needed for the emergency restocking of stores.

Are haulers of household waste and medical waste covered under the terms of the emergency declaration?

Yes, transportation for removal of both household and medical waste is covered as “supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19.”

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