26 Mar FMCSA emergency actions
FMCSA Hours of Service Waiver Extended to Fertilizer and Animal Feed
On Friday, March 13, President Trump declared a nationwide state of emergency on the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. Following the President’s declaration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a nationwide Emergency Declaration. The emergency declaration suspends hours of service (HOS) regulations in all 50 states and Washington D.C. for drivers who are directly transporting supplies (including food) which are “incident to the immediate restoration of essential services” related to the COVID-19 emergency. In order to fall under the waiver, the commercial motor vehicle must be providing “direct assistance in support of emergency relief efforts related to the COVID-19 outbreaks.”
In answers to frequently asked questions about the emergency declaration, FMCSA clarified that the delivery of fertilizer and animal feed are both covered by the HOS exemptions, but that the delivery of feed ingredients and pet food are not included. Due to the restrictive language of the emergency declaration, it is recommended that facilities only use this HOS exemption where truly justified and defensible – e.g., when directly related to the immediate restoration of essential services. Find more information on the emergency declaration in FMCSA announcements here and here. The declaration remains in effect until April 12, 2020. If you have questions or need any clarification, please contact your association.
FMCSA Issues Notice of Enforcement Policy on CDL Renewal
The national Coronavirus/COVID-19 emergency has caused some state agency offices and medical offices to close, making it difficult for commercial drivers to renew their licenses or receive medical certificates. In response to this, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a nationwide Emergency Notice of Enforcement Policy to provide relief for motor carriers from certain regulations concerning commercial driver’s licenses and commercial learner’s permit holders. This FMCSA action is meant to ensure that commercial drivers are available to operate during the national emergency declaration.
Under the emergency policy, FMCSA will not take enforcement action on the following:
- 49 CFR 383.23(a)(2) – a CLP or CDL holder operating a CMV with an expired license, but only if the CLP or CDL was valid on February 29, 2020, and expired on or after March 1, 2020.
- 49 CFR 383.37(a): a motor carrier that allows a CLP or CDL driver to operate a CMV during a period in which the driver does not have a current CLP or CDL, but only if the CLP or CDL was valid on February 29, 2020, and expired on or after March 1, 2020.
- 49 CFR 391.11(b)(5): a CMV driver or motor carrier that allows a CMV driver to operate a CMV during a period in which the driver’s operator license has expired, but only if the driver’s license was valid on February 29, 2020, and expired on or after March 1, 2020, and the driver is otherwise qualified to drive under 391.11.
- 49 CFR 391.45(b): a CMV driver or motor carrier that allows a CMV driver to operate a CMV during a period in which the driver does not have the current medical certificate as required by 49 CFR 391.45(b), if the driver has a medical certification that was valid on February 29, 2020 and expired on or after March 1, 2020.
This Emergency Notice of Enforcement Policy remains effective until June 30, 2020.