FMCSA Extends COVID-19 Relief Exemption, Expands to Include Food and Paper Haulers
Washington D.C. – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is again extending and expanding its 50-state hours of service (HOS) exemption for motor carriers directly engaged in COVID-19 relief efforts.
The Agency’s unprecedented exemption of Parts 390 through 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) is being extended through September 14, 2020.
“This extension addresses national emergency conditions that create a need for immediate transportation of essential supplies, and provides necessary relief from the FMCSRs for motor carriers and drivers,” a newly issued Emergency Declaration states.
The current Emergency Declaration was set to expire August 14.
Expands to Include Grocery Restocking (Again)
The Agency is also expanding its Emergency Declaration to once again include haulers “providing relief for emergency restocking of food, paper products and other groceries at distribution centers or stores.”
In June, the Agency removed grocery restocking from the commodities covered under its Emergency Declaration after originally including it in the first exemption issued in March.
However, now the FMCSA says it is adding this category of relief back into the Declaration due to “current conditions.”
The Emergency Declaration does not provide further detail as to the specifics of what changed between June and now to compel the Agency to make its decision.
In addition, the exemption also still includes the transportation of: livestock and livestock feed; medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19; and 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.
Once again, the Agency made clear the waiver only applies to those engaged in direct assistance which 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.”