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FMCSA Modifies and Extends Emergency Declaration

*This page was last updated December 3, 2020. 

Due to the increased demand for essential supplies for the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) issued a national emergency declaration providing regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operators. The Emergency Declaration is effective December 1, 2020 and has been extended to February 28, 2021, or until the revocation of the Presidentially declared COVID-19 national emergency, whichever is sooner. Although it has been extended, it has also been modified to provide hours-of-service regulatory relief to drivers specifically transporting COVID-19 vaccines.

The extension for CMV operations providing direct assistance in support of emergency relief efforts related to COVID-19 and is limited to transportation of:

  • Vaccines, constituent products, and medical supplies and equipment including ancillary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines, related to the prevention of COVID-19.
  • Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19.
  • 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.
  • Livestock and livestock feed.
  • Food, paper products, and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.

Additionally, according to the FMCSA, “The declaration stipulates that 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 the emergency declaration. To ensure continued safety on the nation’s roadways, the emergency declaration stipulates that when a driver is moving from emergency relief efforts to normal operations, the driver must receive a minimum of 10 hours off duty if the total time a driver operates conducting emergency relief efforts, or a combination of emergency relief and normal operations, equals 14 hours.”

Continued Safety

It’s vital that employers understand that the extension has been modified. Unless drivers fall into the categories listed by the extension, they should otherwise resume following the FMCSA’s regulations prior to the changes brought about by COVID-19. In addition, employers should also continue to carefully follow any waivers set to expire for Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and Commercial Learner’s Permits (CLP) for any changes that may occur in the upcoming months as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

How Can DISA Help?

As the pandemic continues and states proceed with reopening phases, it’s vital that employers remain up-to-date on the latest regulations and changes for their industry. DISA’s Transportation Compliance (DTC) can assist employers with maintaining compliance during these unprecedented times. Regardless of the DOT agency you report to, we can offer assistance with FAA, FRA, FTA, FMCSA, PHMSA, and USCG.

About DISA Global Solutions

Founded in 1987, DISA is the industry-leading provider of employee screening and compliance services. Headquartered in Houston, with more than 35 offices throughout the U.S. and Canada, DISA’s comprehensive scope of services includes drug and alcohol testing, background screening, occupational health, and transportation compliance. DISA assists employers in making informed staffing decisions while building a culture of safety in their workplace.

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