The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Expands Its Hours of Service Exemptions During Pandemic

With the growing need for emergency supplies, 18-wheeler drivers are working long hours daily to deliver these much-needed supplies in order to help with the fight against COVID-19.

On March 19th, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) expanded its hours of service exemptions for commercial motor vehicle drivers transporting personnel and supplies necessary to respond to this pandemic.

This declaration provides regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations providing direct assistance and supporting emergency relief efforts to meet immediate needs for:

  • 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.
  • Food and other groceries for emergency restocking of grocery stores.
  • Equipment need to manage temporary housing and quarantines.
  • Personnel designated by federal, state or local authorities for medical, isolation or quarantine purposes.
  • Personnel necessary to provide other medical or emergency services.
  • Fuel
  • Precursor to food (Livestock).

Upon completion of the direct assistance and prior to returning to normal operations, the driver is required to take 10 hours off duty, or 8 hours for passenger carriers.

The exemption covers the transportation of livestock as a precursor to food. It also covers hauling household and medical waste. However, the FMCSA cautioned motor carriers that mixed loads are not covered by this exemption, but the hours of service regulations still do apply.

The need and quick delivery of these supplies is critical during this worldwide pandemic, but so is the safety of those on the road. If you must be on the road, please be alert and cautious of other drivers and 18-wheelers on the road during this pandemic.