The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended its national emergency exemption from specific Parts 390 through 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) to August 14, 2020, but has now excluded a number of prescribed items previously covered by the exemption.
The Emergency Declaration Exemption, initially issued on March 13, 2020, has been extended and expanded on a few occasions now because the declared emergency remains in place in support of direct emergency assistance for some supply chains, FMCSA stated in in its July 13, 2020 Extension of the Modified Expanded Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 Under 49 CFR § 390.25.
‘This extension addresses national emergency conditions that create a need for immediate transportation of essential supplies, and provides necessary relief from the FMCSRs for motor carriers and drivers.’
The latest extension, effective July 13, 2020, provides regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations providing direct assistance in support of emergency relief efforts related to COVID-19 in three specific categories of freight:
- Livestock and livestock feed;
- Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19; and
- 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.
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.
FMCSA also declared that there was no longer a need for emergency relief with respect to the following categories of supplies, equipment, and persons that were previously included in the May 13, 2020 Extension of Expanded Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 Under 49 CFR § 390.25:
- Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores;
- Immediate precursor raw materials, such as paper, plastic or alcohol, that are required for the manufacture of medical equipment and other supplies included in the exemption;
- Liquefied gases to be used in refrigeration or cooling systems.
- Equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine and isolation facilities related to COVID-19;
- Persons designated by federal, state or local authorities for medical, isolation or quarantine purposes;
- Persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services, the supply of which may be affected by the COVID-19 response.
Therefore it is very important to note that motor carriers and drivers providing these specific supplies, equipment, and persons are no longer granted emergency relief and must continue to comply with specific Parts of 390 through 399 of the FMCSRs, including hours of service.