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Emergency HOS waiver expanded to include raw materials

Emergency order expands to include commodities, fuel. Credit: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

Trucking companies and independent operators hauling “precursor” raw materials such as paper, plastic and alcohol used to make essential items are now exempt from certain hours-of-service (HOS) rules.

Those commodities, along with fuel and other items, were included in an expanded list of freight now included in a new emergency order declaration issued today by the Federal Motor Carrier Service Administration (FMCSA). Today’s declaration expands on items included in the FMCSA’s emergency order issued March 13 for carriers and drivers providing direct assistance in response to the coronavirus.

FMCSA Administrator Jim Mullen praised U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao for leading on the updated order.

“Under Secretary Chao’s leadership, FMCSA is providing additional regulatory relief to our nation’s commercial drivers to get critically important medical supplies, food and household goods to Americans in need,” Mullen said. “We will continue to support them and use our authority to protect the health and safety of the American people.”

With the items and commodities added today, FMCSA’s exemption, which applies to parts 390 through 399 of the agency’s safety regulations (which includes HOS), now includes:

  • 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.
  • Fuel.
  • Equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing and/or quarantine.
  • Persons designated by federal, state or local authorities for medical, isolation or quarantine purposes.
  • Persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services.

As was the case with the initial emergency order, providing “direct assistance” in the emergency does not include routine commercial deliveries, nor mixed loads “with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief added to obtain the benefits of the emergency declaration.”


  1. Richard Sheltra

    so what’s the bottom line? if you deliver laboratory supplies (live animals/feed etc) can you still be drug tested or will you be drug tested? Just wondering what will happen in the near future. they are pushing us further and further and when you go home and decide to utilize your medical marijuana card the state issued you and your OFF DUTY you will come up dirty in a drug test for thc when there is no weed in the world that keeps you high for the next day ! it really does suck. you can only drink for relaxation and that effect definitely lasts longer… no answers on this most likely i bet many have thought about it..

  2. Stephen Webster

    This should have came in with temp overtime problem. Otherwise companies will push truck drivers too much. I like the idea of stopping when I want but overtime pay needs to there any time truck drivers can drive more. Many trucking companies only care about the dollar not the truck drivers. Be very careful with C 19 if you are in the U S and from Canada. Insurance companies will try to get out claims .

  3. Frank BRIERLY

    Greenhouse products ? Flowers and vegetable plants. Flowers to keep occupied , Good therapy. Vegetable plants for growing.your own food. Stay at home , keep occupied

Comments are closed.

John Gallagher

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.