ALEXANDRIA, Va.—As the U.S. transportation industry continues to grapple with a severe shortage of truck drivers, NACS and other industry trade groups are asking the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to issue another national waiver exempting truck drivers transporting fuel from hours-of-service rules.
The current waiver extension for hours-of-service regulations—granted by the Trump Administration last year due to the coronavirus pandemic—lasts until May 31, 2021, and does not list fuel as essential.
The groups yesterday urged FMCSA to again include fuel transport in the waiver of hours-of-service regulations in Parts 390 through 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. “Without the HOS waiver, the country’s infrastructure will remain at risk of fuel supply disruptions, and the worsening effects of the pandemic on the driver shortage will persist,” the letter states.
NACS was joined in the letter by the National Association of Truckstop Operators, Energy Marketers of America and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America.
“The COVID-19 crisis has shown the necessity of the HOS waiver for the delivery of fuel as indispensable to supporting public health and the infrastructure of this country,” the letter states.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has also exacerbated the national shortage of truck drivers. There are fewer drivers available due to illness and quarantine. Fewer candidates have been attending training schools because of limited seating capacity from social distancing. As a result, driver schools are graduating 30% to 40% fewer drivers, resulting in an even more depressed labor pool,” the associations said.
A two-part NACS Daily series recently examined the truck driver shortage. Read “Trucker Shortage Hits Home” and “Higher Pay for the Long Haul.”