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Updates from the FMCSA Regarding COVID-19

Updates from the FMCSA regarding COVID-19

and National Emergency Declarations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has made Emergency Declarations to maintain the motor carrier industry and those who have a commercial driver’s license.

These declarations are covering these specific areas of concern:

  • Motor Carriers and Drivers providing Direct Assistance
    • Provides regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations providing direct assistance in support of emergency relief efforts and immediate needs for such materials like medical supplies, equipment, food, paper products.
    • Additionally, raw materials for manufacturing additional equipment and supplies, and transportation of fuel.
    • Loads being carried need to be predominantly Relief oriented.
  • Hours of Service
    • None of the Hours of Services regulations apply while the drivers is engaged with providing direct assistance under the emergency relief exemption.
    • The 60/70-Hour Rule doesn’t apply during the emergency relief.
    • The 34-hour restart is required upon completion of the direct assistance and prior to returning to normal operations.
    • During the emergency relief, drivers are exempted from all the hours-of-service regulations, including the record keeping requirements. (ELD and Paper Logbook)
    • If there is an ELD within the vehicle, there are 3 options:
      • Use Authorized personal use (personal conveyance).
      • Use ELD in normal mode and note the Emergency relief.
      • Turn off the ELD, however the Motor carrier will have to address the unassigned mileage.
    • Regarding back hauls that are not relief oriented, the driver is required a 10 consecutive hour off duty before driving and start recording their Hours-of-service as normal.
    • The expanded definition of raw materials and how they are associated with emergency relief efforts. (i.e. materials to manufacture bleach, hand sanitizer and similar items).
    • This would also include packaging materials for food.
    • Even feed and fertilizer is classified as “essential” under the emergency declaration.
  • Commercial Driver’s License
    • FMCSA has granted a 3 month waiver for expiring CDL on or after March 1, 2020.
    • This also includes a medical certificate issued for a period of 90 days or longer and expires on or after March 1, 2020.
    • FMCSA will not take enforcement action until June 30, 2020.
  • COVID-19 Drug & Alcohol Testing Guidance
    • During the COVID-19 emergency, FMCSA has stated that if employers are not able to perform random testing regularly, they should make up the testing before the end of the year (2020).
    • Documentation should be completed with specific reasons why testing is not able to be performed.
    • All other forms of testing are unaffected.

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