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COVID-19 Hours of Service Extension

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According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) latest notification, it plans to continue the national emergency warrants extension that is exempted from certain requirements in 49 CFR Part 395 (maximum driving time) of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) for the fifty states and the District of Columbia.

About FMCSA’s Declaration No. 2020-002

FMCSA, in its declaration, announced on March 13, 2020, that a 50-state waiver would allow hours of service flexibility for commercial carriers due to COVID-19. This continued for around 2.5 years, and with the latest FMCSA declaration, it is confirmed that it will continue till October 15, 2022. 

FMCSA has consistently monitored the situation and has amended the Emergency Declaration to emphasize and remove the classification of equipment, supplies, and persons covered by the Emergency Declaration to aid the changes for emergency relief. 

Since the presidentially declared emergency is still relevant along with substantial supply chain capacity issues, the FMCSA is continuing the exemption to support direct emergency assistance for supply chains. This extension of the modified Emergency Declaration helps the national emergency conditions: to promote swift transportation of essential supplies and provide ease for motor carriers and drivers.

Transportation Waiver Criteria:

To get an exemption, the transportation must be both of qualifying commodities and incident to the immediate restoration of those essential supplies.

  • Livestock and livestock feed.
  • Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19.
  • Vaccines and medical supplies, including ancillary supplies/kits for vaccine administration.
  • Necessary Equipment 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 the emergency distribution centers.
  • Gasoline, diesel, diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), jet fuel, ethyl alcohol, and heating fuel, including propane, natural gas, and heating oil.
Emergency Declaration Restrictions & Conditions
  • Nothing in this extension of the modified Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 shall be considered an exemption from any applicable requirements.
  • Motor carriers that operate obeying the terms of the extension of the modified Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 are to report within 5 days after the end of each month their reliance on the Declaration.
  • Motor carriers or drivers currently subject to an out-of-service order are not eligible for the relief granted by this extension until they have met the applicable conditions for its rescission and FMCSA has rescinded the order in writing.
  • When a driver moves from emergency relief efforts to normal operations, a 10-hour break is required when the total time a driver operates conducting emergency relief efforts, or a combination of emergency relief and normal operations, happens to be 14 hours.
Feedback on Carriers’ Use of COVID Hours of Service Waiver

Currently, FMCSA focuses on collecting feedback to analyze how the current hours of service relaxation impact the delivery of commodities and the safety of vehicles. Feedback can be given here.

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