On March 18, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued an expanded national emergency declaration to provide hours-of-service and other regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers transporting emergency relief in response to the nationwide coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. In keeping with NEFI's request from earlier this week, the expanded declaration includes relief for fuel delivery.
FMCSA's declaration grants regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations providing direct assistance in support of emergency relief efforts intended 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 of COVID-19, such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants.
- 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 and to be used for the manufacture of essential items.
- Equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine.
- Persons designated by federal, state or local authorities for medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes.
- Persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services.
Motor carriers and drivers providing such relief are exempt from the provisions of 49 CFR Parts 390-399, but would still be subject to controlled substances and alcohol use and testing requirements (49 CFR Part 382), the 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), and applicable vehicle size and weight requirements.
According to the revised declaration, "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.
The exemption is in effect immediately and will remain in effect until the emergency has ceased or 11:59 p.m. on April 12, 2020, whichever is earlier.