FMCSA's Coronavirus Emergency Declaration

    Audience Fleet Admins, Fleet Managers, Drivers
    Applies To FMCSA's Coronavirus Emergency Declaration

     

    Updated [June 2022]

     

    In response to the COVID-19 Pandemic Emergency Declaration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has lifted the Hours of Service restrictions for property-carrying vehicles for motor carriers involved in emergency relief efforts in order to maintain safety, as well as getting critical goods to impacted areas faster and more efficiently. Carriers and drivers are free from the Hours of Service restrictions in 49 CFR 395.3 while they are providing emergency assistance. 

    If you have specific questions regarding the emergency declaration not answered here, you can emailFMCSADeclaration@dot.gov, and Cc:compliance@keeptruckin.com. Any guidance received will be used to update this article. 

    Note: This Extension And Amendment of the Modified Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 Under 49 CFR § 390.25 (May 27, 2022) applies only to motor carrier operations providing direct assistance in support of relief efforts related to COVID-19. 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. We recommend that drivers and carriers operating under this exemption carefully consider whether the exemption applies to any particular load, including consulting a DOT official or attorney if necessary, seek assurances from the shipper that a load is covered, and thoroughly document your operation and annotate your records to ensure your valuable contribution to this important community response is seamless and issue-free. Please review the terms of the Exemption by accessing the link at the beginning of this note.


    If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at compliance@keeptruckin.com.

     

    What kind of loads are included in the Modified Exemption?

    The extension of FMCSA Emergency Declaration 2020-02 provides regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations providing direct assistance in support of emergency relief efforts related to COVID-19 and is limited to transportation of: 

    1. livestock and livestock feed; 
    2. medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19; 
    3. vaccines, constituent products, and medical supplies and equipment including ancillary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines, related to the prevention of COVID-19; 
    4. supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap, and disinfectants; 
    5. food, paper products, and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores; and 
    6. gasoline, diesel, diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), jet fuel, ethyl alcohol, and heating fuel including propane, natural gas, and heating oil 

    “Direct assistance” does not include routine commercial deliveries, including mixed loads with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief added to obtain the benefits of this emergency declaration. To be eligible for the exemption, the transportation must be both 

    1. of qualifying commodities and 
    2. incident to the immediate restoration of those essential supplies.

    Reporting Requirement:

    Motor carriers that voluntarily operate under the terms of this extension and amendment of the modified FMCSA Emergency Declaration 2020-002 are to report within 5 days after the end of each month their reliance on the Declaration.  To report, motor carriers will access their portal account at https://portal.fmcsa.dot.gov/login, log-in with their FMCSA portal credentials, and access the Emergency Declaration Reporting under the Available FMCSA Systems section of the page.

    ***In accordance with 49 CFR § 390.25, this extension and amendment of the modified Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 is effective at 12:00 A.M. (ET), June 1, 2022, and shall remain in effect until 11:59 P.M. (ET), August 31, 2022, unless modified or terminated sooner by FMCSA.**

     

    Some Emergency Declaration Restrictions & Conditions:

    The Emergency Exemption does not grant any relief not expressly granted.   

    Motor carriers or drivers currently subject to an out-of-service order are not eligible for the relief granted by this extension and amendment of the modified Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 until they have met the applicable conditions for its rescission and the order has been rescinded by FMCSA in writing. 

    Direct assistance terminates 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 COVID-19 as set forth in this extension and amendment of the modified Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002, or when the motor carrier dispatches a driver or commercial motor vehicle to another location to begin operations in commerce.  (49 CFR § 390.23(b)).  

    Upon termination of direct assistance to emergency relief efforts related to COVID-19, the motor carrier and driver are subject to all requirements of the FMCSRs, except that a driver may return empty to the motor carrier’s terminal or the driver’s normal work reporting location without complying with 49 CFR § 395.3.  When a driver is moving from emergency relief efforts to normal operations a 10-hour break is required when the total time a driver operates conducting emergency relief efforts, or a combination of emergency relief and normal operations, equals 14 hours.

    Below are some common questions/concerns for better understanding of this Emergency HOS Exemption:

    Q1: Does this mean that I can ignore the 60/70 hour, 14 hours, 11 hours, or the 30-minute break rules? 

    A1: While you are providing direct assistance to relief efforts related to the COVID-19 emergency in the US, yes. However, you still cannot operate if you are sick or fatigued and you still must get adequate rest before driving. Also, prior to returning to normal operations, you are required to take 10 consecutive hours off duty before driving. 

    Q2: Is a 34-hour restart required after providing direct assistance under the emergency declaration?

    A2: No, however, upon completion of the direct assistance and prior to returning to normal operations, the driver is required to meet the requirements of § 395.3. When a driver is moving from emergency relief efforts to normal operations a 10-hour break is required when the total time a driver operates conducting emergency relief efforts, or a combination of emergency relief and normal operations, equals 14 hours.

    Q3: How should I log this on my KeepTruckin ELD or on the KeepTruckin Electronic Logbook App? 

    A3: Drivers are still required to record their duty status changes as they normally do. We recommend that you select the “Other” cycle from the application while operating under this exemption, which will turn off violation alerts and drive-time clocks. 

    Q4: What does direct assistance mean? 

    A4: Direct assistance means transportation and other relief services provided by a motor carrier or its driver(s) incident to the immediate restoration of essential services (such as medical care) or essential supplies related to COVID-19 during the emergency. 

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