FMCSA – EMERGENCY DECLARATION – HOS AND COVID-19
On March 13, 2020 the White House declared that “…an emergency exists that warrants an exemption from Parts 390 and 399…of Title 49…of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations…”* The complete text of Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 is available as a pdf at the end of this blog. Here is what you need to know.
- The exemption applies to Hours-of-Service (HOS) regulations.
- To be exempt you must provide “direct assistance in support of emergency relief efforts related to COVID-19 outbreaks.”
- Relief efforts include transporting
- “(1) medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19;
- (2) supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as
- Face masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants:
- (3) food for emergency restocking of stores;
- (4) equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine, and isolation facilities related to COVID-19:
- (5) persons designated by Federal, State or local authorities for medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes; and
- (6) persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services, the supply of which may be affected by the COVID-19 response.”*
DIRECT ASSISTANCE DEFINED AND WHEN IT ENDS
Please be aware that “DIRECT ASSISTANCE” is strictly defined and limited. The following bullet points are MUST KNOW:
- Direct assistance ends when a driver or commercial motor vehicle is used in interstate commerce to:
- “Transport cargo or provide services that are not in support of emergency relief efforts related to the COVID-19 outbreaks or
- When the motor carrier dispatches a driver or commercial motor vehicle to another location to begin operations in commerce.
- Upon termination of direct assistance to emergency relief efforts…the motor carrier and driver are subject to the requirements of 49 CFR Parts 390 through 399, except that
- A driver may return empty to the motor carrier’s terminal or the driver’s normal work reporting location without complying with Parts 390 and 399.”*
EMERGENCY DECLARATION APPLIES ONLY TO HOS
More MUST KNOW information:
- “Nothing contained in this Emergency Declaration shall be construed as an exemption from:
- Controlled substances or alcohol use and testing requirements,
- Commercial driver’s license requirements,
- Financial responsibility (insurance) requirements,
- Hazardous material regulations,
- Applicable size and weight requirements, or
- Any other portion of the regulations not specifically exempted under Title 49 CFR 390.23”*
WHO IS NOT ELIGIBLE – DURATION OF EMERGENCY
“Motor carriers or drivers currently subject to an out-of-service order are not eligible…”*
“…This declaration is effective immediately and shall remain in effect until the termination of the emergency…or until 11:59 P.M. (ET) on April 12, 2020, whichever occurs sooner.”*
TO SUM UP
- Be sure you are involved in “direct assistance” in emergency efforts related to COVID-19. It is not enough to have a skid of rubber gloves as part of a mixed load.
- Are you or any of your drivers currently under an out-of-service order? If so, you cannot claim exemption even if you are providing direct assistance.
- Remember: the emergency order does NOT provide exemption from any regulation but HOS.
- Keep checking the FMCSA website at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/ for updates on the fast-developing COVID-19 crisis.
- For the full text of the emergency declaration, see FMCSA Emergency Declaration 3.13.20.pdf
(*Quoted from Emergency Declaration Under 49 CFR 390.23 No. 2020-002)