On February 12th, 2021, the FMCSA issued yet another extension on the COVID-19 emergency declaration. The original FMCSA emergency waiver was issued in March 2020 and has been extended eight times.
The declaration provides relief from HOS regulations to truck drivers providing direct assistance during the pandemic until May 31st. The FMCSA new waiver extension will extend through all 50 states and the District of Columbia
According to the FMCSA, “Direct assistance means transportation and other relief services provided by a motor carrier or its driver(s) incident to the immediate restoration of essential services (such as medical care) or essential supplies related to COVID-19 during the emergency.”
“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 following categories are covered by the FMCSA waiver:
- Livestock and livestock feed.
- Medical supplies and equipment related to testing, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19.
- Vaccines, constituent products, and medical supplies and equipment including ancillary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines, related to the prevention 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.
- Food, paper products, and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.
The FMCSA’s acting Administrator, Meera Joshi stated, “motor carriers shall not require or allow fatigued drivers to operate a CMV. “A driver who informs a carrier that he or she needs immediate rest shall be given at least 10 consecutive hours before the driver is required to return to service.”