The U.S. Department of Transportation released an Expanded Emergency Declaration on Wednesday, March 18 following U.S. President Trump’s declaration of a nationwide emergency in direct relation to COVID-19. This Expanded Emergency Declaration states that there is an exemption from Parts 390 to 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR).
Exempted drivers under this declaration also have some prior requirements lifted for the time being. Some prior requirements that are lifted are, but not limited to: hours of service regulations, the 60/70-hour rule, and records of duty status.
Truck drivers and logistics companies who are providing direct assistance in support of relief efforts, such as “immediate restoration of essential services (such as medical care) or essential supplies (such as food and fuel) related to COVID-19 outbreaks during the emergency”.
The FMCSR declaration is expected to be lifted when the national emergency has also been lifted or until 11:59pm (Eastern Time) on April 12, 2020, whichever occurs sooner.
This means that now more than ever, truck drivers are the critical backbone of this pandemic. Oxygen tanks, ventilators, surgical masks, and nitrile gloves still need to be shipped as fast as possible, so truck drivers are heavily relied on at this time.