WASHINGTON—The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) yesterday issued an expanded emergency declaration extending hours of service (HOS) waivers for commercial motor carriers and drivers transporting fuel and other essential goods to support emergency relief efforts related to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreaks nationwide. The declaration expires April 12, unless revised.
“The nation’s truck drivers are on the front lines of this effort and are critical to America’s supply chain. We will continue to support them and use our authority to protect the health and safety of the American people,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Jim Mullen.
On Tuesday, NACS, along with three other fuel retailing industry groups, asked FMCSA to issue a national HOS waiver for the transportation of fuel in response to the COVID-19 crisis. FMCSA previously issued an HOS waiver for truck drivers moving essential goods in support of emergency relief efforts but didn’t include fuel in the order.
Under 49 CFR § 390.23 No. 2020-002, the expanded HOS waivers apply to transportation to meet immediate needs for:
- medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment
- 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 items in bullets (2), (3) or (4)
- 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, the supply of which may be affected by the COVID-19 response.
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 this emergency declaration, the agency said.
Drivers still must be afforded rest breaks. “To ensure continued 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 8 hours if transporting passengers,” FMCSA said.
Motor carriers or drivers currently subject to an out-of-service order are not eligible for relief under the declaration until they have met the applicable conditions for its rescission and the order has been rescinded by FMCSA, the agency said.
Click here to read FMCSA’s expanded national emergency declaration.
NACS has compiled resources to help the convenience retail community navigate the COVID-19 crisis. For news updates and guidance, visit our coronavirus resources page.