The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued an expanded national emergency declaration to provide drivers that are transporting emergency supplies in response to the coronavirus outbreak relief from the hours-of-service regulations.
The expanded declaration is designed to provide relief for CMV operations that are supporting emergency efforts to provide immediate needs for:
- Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, 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.
- Immediate precursor raw materials, such as paper, plastic or alcohol, that are required and to be used for the manufacture of essential items.
- Equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine.
- Persons designated by federal, state or local authorities for medical, isolation or quarantine purposes.
- Persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services.
The emergency declaration stipulates that the assistance does not apply to routine deliveries, including those that contain mixed loads with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief added in an effort to obtain the benefits of the emergency declaration. It goes on to say “Direct assistance terminates when a driver or commercial motor vehicle is used in interstate commerce to transport cargo or provide services that are not in support of emergency relief efforts related to the COVID-19 outbreaks or when the motor carrier dispatches a driver or commercial motor vehicle to another location to begin operations in commerce… Upon termination of direct assistance to emergency relief efforts related to the COVID-19 outbreaks, the motor carrier and driver are subject to the requirements of 49 CFR Parts 390 through 399, except that a driver may return empty to the motor carrier’s terminal or the driver’s normal work reporting location without complying with Parts 390 through 399.”
FMCSA’s acting Administrator Jim Mullen stated “The nation’s truck drivers are on the front lines of this effort and are critical to America’s supply chain…..Under Secretary Chao’s leadership, FMCSA is providing additional regulatory relief to our nation’s commercial drivers to get critically important medical supplies, food and household goods to Americans in need. We will continue to support them and use our authority to protect the health and safety of the American people.”