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FMCSA Again Extends Emergency Declaration; Narrows Relief Definition

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has again extended its Emergency Declaration that temporarily suspends the hours-of-service rules for commercial motor vehicle operations transporting emergency relief in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The extension, which continues the exemptions granted from Parts 390 through 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations will now expire on July 14, 2020, or until termination of the COVID-19 national emergency, whichever is sooner.

In this latest action, the agency has also narrowed its list of qualifying supplies, equipment and persons under the waiver. As such, once the previous extension expires on June 14th, the exemption will only apply to emergency relief efforts for the transportation of:

  • livestock and livestock feed;
  • 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.

FMCSA says 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.

It should also be noted that motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance to the COVID-19 outbreak are NOT EXEMPT from compliance with the requirements pertaining to controlled substances and alcohol use and testing (49 CFR Part 382), commercial driver’s licenses (49 CFR Part 383), financial responsibility (insurance) (49 CFR Part 387), hazardous material regulations, applicable size and weight, and any other portion of the regulations not specifically exempted under 49 CFR § 390.23.

For more information regarding emergency declarations, please visit FMCSA’s General Emergency FAQs and guidance on relief from regulations.

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