FMCSA Extends Historic H.O.S. COVID-Relief Waiver But It May Not Last Much Longer
Washington D.C. – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is extending its historic 50-state hours of service (HOS) exemption for motor carriers directly engaged in COVID-19 pandemic relief efforts.
In a newly issued extension of its expanded modified Emergency Declaration, the Agency said the unprecedented waiver (which was set to expire on June 1, 2021) will now run through August 31, 2021.
However, the extension may not last that long.
The FMCSA indicated it will conduct a review of the HOS waiver on July 1 and may then take action to “modify or terminate the Emergency Declaration” sooner if conditions warrant.
The Agency also again reiterated its intention to end COVID-19 relief measures in the coming months.
In addition to exempting relief carriers from HOS rules in all 50 states, the measures range from matters such as: providing additional flexibilities in CDL training and testing, pre-employment controlled substance testing, as well as CDL, CLP, and medical card renewals.
What relief freight is still covered under the waiver?
The extension of the expanded modified Emergency Declaration provides regulatory relief for motor carriers providing “direct assistance” in support of emergency relief efforts related to COVID-19 and is limited to transportation of:
(1) Livestock and livestock feed;
(2) Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19;
(3) Vaccines, constituent products, and medical supplies and equipment including ancillary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines, related to the prevention of COVID-19;
(4) 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; and
(5) Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.