The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued an expanded national emergency declaration to provide hours-of-service regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers transporting emergency relief in response to the nationwide coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
FMCSA’s expanded declaration provides for regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts intended to meet 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 expanded declaration stipulates that 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 the emergency declaration.
To ensure continue safety on the nation’s roadways, the emergency declaration stipulates that once a driver has completed his or her delivery, the drive must receive a minimum of 10 hours off duty if transporting property, and eight hours if transporting passengers.
FMCSA’s emergency declaration is the first time the agency has issued nation-wide relief and follows President Trump issuing of a national emergency declaration in response to the virus.