Federal agencies Trucking Transportation

FMCSA extends, amends regulatory relief for truckers hauling pandemic-related goods

Photo: Missouri Department of Transportation Flickr

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has expanded a list of qualifying cargo and extended temporary hours-of-service exemptions and other regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle drivers transporting items intended to assist with COVID-19 pandemic relief.

The amended extension of Emergency Declaration 2020-002 applies to drivers transporting heating fuel – including propane, natural gas and heating oil. The extension is set to remain in effect through May 31; the emergency declaration was initially issued March 13, 2020.

The exemption continues to cover drivers who transport:

  • COVID-19 vaccines; constituent products; and medical supplies and equipment, including ancillary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines
  • Medical supplies and equipment for the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19
  • Supplies and equipment to help curb the spread of COVID-19, including masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants
  • Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of stores or distribution centers
  • Gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and ethyl alcohol
  • Supplies to assist individuals impacted by the “consequences” of the pandemic (example: building materials for individuals displaced or otherwise impacted as a result of the emergency)
  • Livestock and livestock feed

FMCSA says it’s continuing the exemption because “although the number of COVID-19 cases began to decline in the U.S. following widespread introductions of vaccinations, persistent issues arising out of COVID-19 continue to affect the U.S., including impacts on supply chains and the need to ensure capacity to respond to variants and potential rises in infections.”

Drivers making routine commercial deliveries that include “mixed loads with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief added to obtain the benefits of this emergency declaration” aren’t covered under the exemption. “To be eligible for the exemption, the transportation must be both (i) of qualifying commodities and (ii) incident to the immediate restoration of those essential supplies.”

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