Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration | Dec. 7, 2020
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued an extended and expanded national emergency declaration to provide hours-of-service regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers transporting vaccines and emergency relief in response to the nationwide coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency.
“America’s truck drivers have been heroes in keeping this nation’s supply chains open and are now on the front lines of this historic effort to safely deliver the COVID-19 vaccine,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.
“Under Secretary Chao’s leadership, FMCSA is helping lead the way to allow for an efficient and effective distribution of the first COVID-19 vaccines. The Agency is continuing to provide additional regulatory relief to our nation’s truckers to get critically important medical supplies, food, and household goods to Americans in need. We will continue to support them and help protect the health and safety of the American people,” said FMCSA Deputy Administrator Wiley Deck.
FMCSA’s expanded and extended declaration provides for regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts intended to meet immediate needs for:
- Vaccines, constituent products, and medical supplies and equipment including ancillary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines, related to the prevention of COVID-19.
- 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.
- Livestock and livestock feed.
- Food, paper products, and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.
The 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 continued safety on the nation’s roadways, the emergency declaration stipulates that when a driver is moving from emergency relief efforts to normal operations, the driver must receive a minimum of 10 hours off duty if the total time a driver operates conducting emergency relief efforts, or a combination of emergency relief and normal operations, equals 14 hours.
The declaration has been extended to Feb. 28, 2021.
In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, FMCSA has taken unprecedented action to support the nation’s motor carrier industry and protect America’s supply chains—including the first ever hours of service national emergency declaration, actions to allow drivers to still get access to commercial driver’s licenses and permits, assistance in the distribution of more than 3 million protective face coverings, and efforts to ensure rest stops and truck parking remain open.
A full listing of FMCSA’s emergency actions can be found at: www.fmcsa.dot.gov/COVID-19