Late last week the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a national emergency declaration to provide hours-of-service regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers transporting emergency relief in response to the nationwide coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
FMCSA’s declaration provides regulatory relief for certain 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.
To ensure continued safety on the nation’s roadways, the emergency declaration stipulates that once a driver has completed his or her delivery, the driver must receive a minimum of 10 hours off duty if transporting property, and 8 hours if transporting passengers.
A variety of commercial motor vehicle operations are not covered by the national emergency declaration. Please be sure to read through the entirety of the declaration, including the definition of direct assistance and its exceptions, in order to determine whether your operations qualify for regulatory relief.
On Monday, Governor Newsom signed an executive order to ease restrictions on commercial drivers engaged in support of emergency relief efforts, in conjunction with FMCSA’s emergency waiver. The executive order also suspends existing law for employers directly impacted by COVID-19 and directs the Labor and Workforce Development Agency to provide guidance to impacted employees.