In response to the COVID-19 pandemic emergency statement, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration FMCSA has canceled the maintenance requirements for vehicles participating in emergency rescue work to ensure safety and deliver important goods to affected areas faster and more efficiently. When providing emergency assistance, the carrier and the driver are not required to comply with the working hour’s regulations.
On April 8, 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration expanded the scope of its emergency notification to address the hours of service suspended regulations that apply to the trucking industry. Although FMCSA usually issues these statements for hurricanes and firefighters involved in natural relief work, this statement may be the most comprehensive statement ever.
What types of loads are included in the revised exception?
The extension of emergency declaration No. 2020-002 provides regulatory incentives for the operation of commercial vehicles. These services provide direct assistance in supporting the COVID-19 emergency response and are limited to transportation.
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The hours of service suspended rules only apply to truck drivers with a minimum of transportation. This comes from an article in Wired magazine on the subject: basic groceries, such as medical supplies, equipment related to COVID-19, masks and gloves, groceries, fuel, and equipment used to build emergency shelters or quarantine facilities.
Cattle and feed
medical supplies and equipment related to testing, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19; vaccines related to the prevention of COVID-19, its components, medical supplies, and equipment, including tools/vaccine management kits; supplies and equipment necessary for public safety, hygiene, and preventing the spread of COVID-19 to the public, Such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap, and disinfectant; as well as groceries, paper products and other items that are replenished urgently from distribution centers or stores.
“Direct assistance” does not include normal commercial broadcasting, including mixed broadcasting, plus a nominal amount of qualified emergency assistance to benefit from this emergency announcement. The FMCSA concluded that the expansion of emergency declaration No. 2020-002 of May 13th and other supplies, equipment and personnel covered by the expansion no longer require emergency assistance and therefore no longer include these categories.
The emergency declaration allows motor drivers to provide “Support that directly supports the relief of the COVID-19 outbreak, which is an exemption from Part 390-399 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations”, and provides some of the following exemptions. This means that freight forwarders who provide direct assistance do not have to comply with current service regulations outside of emergency hours.
Direct assistance is defined as “transportation and other support services provided by road transport companies or their drivers to immediately restore basic services such as medical services or basic items such as food-related to the COVID outbreak in the event of an incident.
Current non-emergency regulations
According to the hours of service suspended rule drivers can work 14 hours a day, 11 hours in most cases. The driver must rest for 10 consecutive hours. With a few exceptions, you can rest during the day. If the following situations occur, the driver needs to perform a 34-hour reset every week: After getting off work (actually once a week for 60 or 70 hours, but once a week).
Emergency suspension details
Some situations can be exempted: medical supplies and equipment related to testing, diagnosis, and COVID-19 treatment;
- For public safety, Supplies and equipment for hygiene and preventing the spread of COVID-19 to the public, such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap, and disinfectant.
- Food, paper products, and other products used for emergency replenishment in distribution centers or warehouses.
- Direct precursor raw materials required for the manufacture of items of (1), (2) or (3) fuel equipment, such as paper, plastic or alcohol, Establish and manage materials and individuals required for temporary housing, quarantine, and isolation facilities related to COVID-19 individuals designated by federal, state, or local authorities.
- For medical, quarantine, or quarantine purposes; people have to provide other medical or emergency services that may be affected by the response to COVID-19.
It is important to note that this exemption does not specifically apply to mixed shipments that only include the number of eligible emergency assistance benefits that benefit from this emergency announcement. “However, this exemption explicitly excludes normal commercial broadcasts.”
The repeal of the hours of service suspended rule does not allow drivers to drive in dangerous environments and take breaks when necessary. In order to ensure the safety of the country’s highways, the emergency statement stated that once the delivery is completed, the driver must have at least 10 hours of rest when transporting goods, and at least 8 hours of rest when transporting passengers.