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FMCSA Acting Administrator Addresses COVID-19 Issues

April 7th, 2020 - 3:28 pm

On an April 3 conference call with industry representatives, FMCSA Acting Administrator Jim Mullen listed a number of regulatory relief steps his agency is taking in response to the COVID-19 crisis. He noted that some 22 States have closed their State Driver Licensing Agency, which places a special burden on companies trying to bring new CDL drivers into service.

Mr. Mullen stated that FMCSA has been working the last several days to encourage States to keep some mechanism open for new driver applicants to take the knowledge test, either in person or online. He noted the FMCSA's March 28 waiver allows States to administer a driving skills test to any out of state CDL applicant, regardless of where the applicant received driver training.

Also, in States that authorize third party skills testers, FMCSA is working to have those States allow third party knowledge testers and to keep the Driver Licensing Agency's back office open to upload the knowledge test scores and grant CLPs.

Mr. Mullen further noted that every State is now recognizing the validity of expired CDLs through June 30, 2020.

He also said that FMCSA has worked with the Federal Highway Administration to keep all rest stops open on Interstate highways, and is trying to ensure that truck stops remain open to serve drivers and their vehicles.

Mr. Mullen referred to guidance that FMCSA and DOT have provided on drug and alcohol testing, and said that his agency would "not bring the hammer down" if companies cannot get to a 50% random drug testing rate this year due to closings.

Finally, he stated that FMCSA had posted on its website guidance from the Centers for Disease Control for truck drivers operating into and out of the New York City area. The CDC guidance states:

Truck drivers and other people driving into the city to deliver needed supplies should stay in their vehicles as much as possible as supplies are loaded and unloaded, avoid being within 6 feet of others as much as possible when they exit their vehicles, and move to electronic receipts if possible. If these drivers need to spend the night in the greater New York City area, they should stay in their hotel rooms or sleeper cab, when available, to the extent possible and continue to practice social distancing. Drivers who take these precautions should not need to self-quarantine when they leave the greater New York area, unless self-quarantine is recommended by state or local officials for all residents in the areas where they live.

Truck drivers and other workers who obtain or deliver needed supplies [and] who live in the greater New York area may continue to work both within and outside of the greater New York area but should stay at home and practice social distancing according to instructions of state and local officials when they are not working. While they are working either within or outside of the greater New York area, they should stay in their vehicles as much as possible, avoid being within 6 feet of others as much as possible when they exit their vehicles, and move to electronic receipts if possible.