The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended and modified the Emergency Declaration originally set to expire on June 14, 2020. The extension of the declaration and modifications thereto go into effect on June 15, 2020, through July 14, 2020.
The declaration provides relief from Parts 390 through 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operations that are providing direct assistance in support of relief efforts related to COVID-19 outbreaks, including the transportation of:
- 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; and
- Livestock and livestock feed.
Some of the categories that were included in the original Emergency Declaration have been removed and are no longer covered. Those categories eliminated from the declaration are:
- Food and other grocery items for emergency restocking of stores;
- Raw materials required for use in manufacturing of items in the categories listed above;
- Liquefied gases to be used in refrigeration or cooling systems;
- Equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine and isolation facilities related to COVID-19;
- Persons designated by federal, state or local authorities for medical, isolation or quarantine purposes; and
- Persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services affected by the COVID-19 response.
There are restrictions and limitations to this waiver that must be observed. Notably, routine commercial deliveries and mixed loads that are not providing direct assistance for COVID-19 relief efforts do not qualify for the exemption. Motor carriers must still comply with state laws and regulations, such as speed limits and traffic regulations. Fatigued or ill drivers shall not be allowed to operate a CMV and shall be immediately allowed ten consecutive hours of rest after notice of the condition is provided by a driver to the motor carrier.
Additionally, all crash reporting requirements remain in full effect, as do the requirements for controlled substance and alcohol testing, commercial driver’s licenses, insurance, hazardous materials, size and weight, and any other portion of the regulations not specifically exempted under 49 CFR § 390.23.
The full text of the FMCSA’s guidance is available here.