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FMCSA Extends and Expands COVID-19 Related Emergency Declaration

By Dave Osiecki & Sean Garney of Scopelitis Transportation Consulting LLC & Regulatory Consultants to DriverReach – April 9, 2020

On Wednesday, April 8, 2020, FMCSA extended its COVID-19 related Emergency Declaration, and expanded it. FMCSA’s latest Declaration extends the regulatory exemptions in 49 CFR Parts 390-399 through May 15, 2020 and further expands the list of transported items eligible for relief to expressly cover liquefied gases to be used in refrigeration or cooling systems.

This latest Declaration also notes that motor carriers are not exempted from 49 CFR 392.2 (operating in accordance with state laws and regulations, including speeding); or 49 CFR 392.3 (operation of a CMV while a driver’s ability or alertness is impaired), and stipulates that if a motor carrier whose driver is operating under the Declaration is involved in a crash, the carrier must report the crash to the FMCSA Division Office within 24 hours.

As a reminder, while operating under the exemption, drivers and motor carriers do not need to abide by hours of service rules while providing direct assistance and should not calculate the time spent providing that assistance into their daily or weekly totals. Drivers may also return empty to the motor carrier’s terminal or normal work reporting location without counting time towards hours of service limits. If a driver reports that he or she is in need of immediate rest, the motor carrier must allow the driver to obtain at least 10 consecutive hours off duty before returning to duty.

While drivers providing direct assistance in support of emergency relief efforts are not required to maintain specific documentation identifying a load as part of emergency relief, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance suggests that best practice is to ask the shipper to label the bill of lading accordingly.

Full details on this latest FMCSA Emergency Declaration, including the complete list of eligible commodities and transportation types, are available here: 

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/2020-04/ExtensionofEmergencyDeclaration2020-002.pdf


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