Coronavirus Updates: Rule Changes, Clarifications, and Other Information Drivers and Fleets Need

coronavirus under microscope

The world is moving faster than ever while we all deal with the coronavirus and the changes it’s brought to our personal and business lives. It may feel impossible to keep up with the changes, information, programs, and news — especially as it relates to your drivers and your fleet. We’re here to help.

Here are a few updates you may have missed over the past few weeks.

Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) Waivers Granted

In response to the overwhelming need for more drivers on the roads to handle the additional supply deliveries, the FMCSA has issued multiple waivers targeting CLP holders. The most significant includes a 3-month waiver issued on March 28 that gets drivers on the road faster. Read the details here.

Two main points:

  • CLP holders may operate a vehicle without a CDL licensee sitting in a seat in the front cab (they can be anywhere in the cab) as long as the CLP holder has passed their CDL driving skills test and possesses a non-CDL driver’s license, CLP, and medical certificate.
  • Out-of-state CDL licensees do not have to take in-state driver training to qualify for the driver skills test for that state.

Other waivers, issued March 24, reduce or remove specific time restrictions for CLP holders to help get more drivers on the road faster. Read the details here. 

FMCSA Offers Clarifications for Temporary HOS Regulations Changes

In response to overwhelming questions received after the emergency declaration for current HOS regulations in response to COVID-19, the FMCSA has released an FAQ page to help fleets and drivers. 

Among the information shared:

  • Drivers are not required to take 30 minute breaks while providing direct assistance.
  • Drivers don’t need to follow the 34 hour restart rule while providing direct assistance. They must rest for at least 10 hours after transporting goods and 8 hours after transporting people.
  • No specific documentation is required to claim the HOS exemption. It is suggested that fleets maintain bills of lading and other records that may be useful later to document use of the exemption, but while on the road, there are no current document requirements.

Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Posts FAQs about CARES Act

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act offers support and assistance to businesses while also having an impact on FTA requirements. The FTA has released clarification and answers to commonly asked questions. 

  • Understanding what is considered “administrative leave” for employees not currently working
  • Clarification of what operating expenses qualify for funding and assistance
  • Deadline for grant applications and spending for grant recipients
  • Information specific to FTA Funding & Emergency Relief

Paycheck Protection Program Open and Available 

This program is operated through the Small Business Administration (SBA) and offers relief to businesses to help pay employees through the coronavirus crisis — as well as maintaining other operating expenses. The loans are 100 percent guaranteed by the SBA and may be eligible for forgiveness.

Work with your bank first. Expect a bit of delay and chaos as it’s a new program and many businesses will be applying and contacting lenders for information at the same time.

Every individual and business has been impacted by COVID-10, and we’re all doing our part to get necessary goods where they need to be while also staying safe. Here at Gorilla Safety, we know that the trucking industry works hard every day to keep the US stocked, supplied, and moving forward. We’re all in this together. Stay safe out there.