COVID-19 has hit the world hard, and the US is no exception. Shortages of needed supplies are occurring across the country as people stock-up and hunker down and the pandemic impacts our healthcare system. This means that necessary supplies are running out quickly and need to be restocked just as fast. As always, truckers are on the front line to re-supply America.
As of Friday, March 13, 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued an emergency proclamation suspending federal hours-of-service (HOS) regulations for fleets and drivers engaged in emergency relief related to COVID-19.
From the FMCSA announcement:
FMCSA’s declaration provides for regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts intended to meet immediate needs for:
- Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.
- Supplies and equipment, including masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants, necessary for healthcare worker, patient and community safety, sanitation, and prevention of COVID-19 spread in communities.
- Food for emergency restocking of stores.
- Equipment, supplies and persons necessary for establishment and management of temporary housing and quarantine facilities related to COVID-19.
- Persons designated by Federal, State or local authorities for transport for medical, isolation or quarantine purposes.
- Personnel to provide medical or other emergency services.
Once the transport is completed, drivers must receive a minimum of 10 hours off duty and a minimum of eight hours if transporting people.
This waiver applies to drivers hauling goods like toilet paper and other paper products, as well as food items to restock grocery stores. The declaration applies to all interstate transport in the United States. Previously similar proclamations had been issued by specific states and were only in effect within the state.