FMCSA Extends COVID-19 Emergency Declaration Through August –

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s COVID-19 emergency declaration continues to be part of the trucking reality.

On May 27, the FMCSA extended the declaration, which provides regulatory relief for truckers providing direct assistance in the delivery of emergency supplies, for three months. The extension to the end of August means the emergency declaration is expected to remain in effect for at least two and a half years.

FMCSA’s latest version of the emergency waiver removes building materials for people displaced as a result of the emergency as one of the eligible expenses. Fuel oil, which the agency added to the list on May 13, is still part of the exemption.

According to the FMCSA, direct assistance means “the transportation and other emergency services provided by a motor carrier or its driver(s) in the event of an incident to the immediate restoration of essential services (such as medical care) or essential supplies related to COVID-19 during the emergency.”

Regulatory relief is limited to the following charges:

  • Livestock and feed.
  • Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.
  • Vaccines, constituent products and medical supplies and equipment, including auxiliary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines, related to the prevention of COVID-19.
  • Supplies and equipment needed for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19, such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap, and sanitizers.
  • Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency replenishment of distribution centers or stores.
  • Gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, ethyl alcohol and heating fuel, including propane, natural gas and fuel oil.

The FMCSA forecast extension was set to expire on May 31.

This version of the emergency declaration is expected to run until August 31.

The most recent version of the emergency declaration provides an exemption only from Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation 395.3, which sets a maximum driving time for vehicles transporting goods. Previous statements covered parts 390 through 399 of the FMCSR with a few exceptions. Note that the exemption no longer covers sections 395.8(a), 395.8(k) and 395.11 related to driver duty status records, supporting documentation and retention of driver duty status records and supporting documentation, as well as Part 395 Subpart B. related to electronic logging devices.

The federal waiver has been in effect in one form or another since March 2020.

In a separate declaration of emergency, the FMCSA recently provided regulatory relief to motor carriers transporting infant formula or the ingredients necessary for production. This statement is expected to continue through June 30. LL

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