The FMCSA issued a nation-wide hours-of-service (HOS) regulatory relief to commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers during the national emergency declaration at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, now extending it through June 14, 2020. Since the Presidentially declared COVID-19 national emergency still remains in place, the FMCSA is extending the Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 and associated regulatory relief in accordance with 49 CFR § 390.25.
Who Does This Apply To?
The FMCSA’s Emergency Declaration states that this will apply to CMV drivers transporting emergency relief supplies that meet the following:
“(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 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 COVID19;
(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.”
Who Does It Not Apply To?
According to the FMCSA, drivers who are not considered as “direct assistance” for supplying COVID-19 essentials include drivers who are making routine commercial deliveries or transporting mixed loads with essential supplies, equipment, and persons who are not related to the emergency relief efforts.
How Long-Haul Drivers Can Protect Themselves During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Essential workers, such as truck drivers who are providing relief during the COVID-19 pandemic, are sacrificing their health to ensure the transportation of supplies, equipment, and persons. Although these employees might be spending time alone in their truck for hours at a time, there are circumstances in which they might face an increased risk of exposure. The Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued guidance on practices to help long-haul truck drivers remain safe and healthy while working.
Employers and employees alike should address the CDC website and try to implement these practices to the best of their ability during this time. Some recommendations include but aren’t limited to:
- Stay home if you are feeling sick and notify your supervisor.
- Maintain social distancing by remaining 6 feet apart.
- Wear face mask coverings when in a public setting.
- Disinfect surfaces, including the truck cab, sleeper berth, and interior of your truck if a third-party has access to it.
- Practice proper hand hygiene.
- Only use truck-stops or hotels that practice proper COVID-19 protections, which are identified to meet those qualifications by your employer.
More precautions and recommendations can be found by visiting the CDC website long-haul truck driver page here.
The FMCSA’s Emergency Declaration will continue to apply standard safety practices on the road and should NOT be interpreted as an exemption from:
- Controlled substances and alcohol use and testing requirements (49 CFR Part 382)
- Commercial driver’s license requirements (49 CFR Part 383)
- Financial responsibility (insurance) requirements (49 CFR Part 387)
- Hazardous material regulations (49 CFR Parts 100-180)
- Applicable size and weight requirements or any other regulations that aren’t exempted under 49 CFR § 390.23
In addition, to continue to ensure safety on the roadways during this time, drivers must get a minimum of 10 hours off duty if transporting property, or eight hours if transporting passengers, once they have completed their delivery. Carriers or drivers who are currently subject to an out-of-service order are not eligible for the relief of this Emergency Declaration until all applicable conditions have been met for their rescission, and the order has been rescinded.
How Can DISA Help?
During this unprecedented time, DISA has the professionals to assist you with ensuring that your drivers remain compliant and well-informed of any new requirements or changes due to the emergency situation. Regardless of the DOT agency you report to, we can offer assistance with FAA, FRA, FTA, FMCSA, PHMSA, and USCG and our DOT mandated services include:
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.