The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration once again is extending temporary hours-of-service exemptions and other “regulatory relief” for commercial motor vehicle drivers transporting items intended to assist with COVID-19 pandemic relief efforts.
Announced May 26, the extension of Emergency Declaration 2020-002, initially issued March 13, 2020, and expanded and modified multiple times, is scheduled to remain in effect through Aug. 31.
Regulatory relief is extended to drivers who are transporting:
- COVID-19 vaccines; constituent products; and medical supplies and equipment, including ancillary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines
- Medical supplies and equipment for the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19
- Supplies and equipment to help curb the spread of COVID-19, including masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants
- Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of stores or distribution centers
- Livestock and livestock feed
Drivers making routine commercial deliveries, “including mixed loads with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief added to obtain the benefits of this emergency declaration,” are not covered under the exemption.
“To be eligible for the exemption, the transportation must be both (i) of qualifying commodities and (ii) incident to the immediate restoration of those essential supplies,” FMCSA says in a notice.
The regulatory relief doesn’t extend to safety regulations concerning speed limits, fatigue, texting/phone use while driving, crash documentation and out-of-service rules, among others.
FMCSA says it plans to review the emergency declaration on or around July 1, and may modify or terminate it “if conditions warrant.”