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FMCSA extends pandemic-related HOS waiver through November

Hours-of-service rules suspended for driving in several emergency situations

Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has tacked on another three months to its emergency declaration waiving some hours-of-service rules for pandemic-related trucking.

The waiver that was first put into effect in March 2020 and was extended several times was to expire Tuesday. But it now runs through Nov. 30. It could end earlier if the declaration of a national emergency is lifted prior to that. 

One thing that has not changed is the list of activities that allow HOS limits to be exceeded. Truck drivers granted relief must be providing “direct assistance” to aid the “immediate restoration of essential services (such as medical care) or essential supplies related to COVID-19 during the emergency.”

“Regulatory relief” from the HOS rules will be granted if the driver is transporting:

— Livestock and livestock feed.

— Medical supplies and equipment for COVID-19 testing.

— Vaccines and products related to vaccines.

— Personal protective equipment and other safety and sanitization products.

— Food and paper products for restocking stores.

— Fuel products.

— And a fairly broad exemption for “supplies to assist individuals impacted by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.” It cites delivering building material to assist individuals “displaced or otherwise impacted” by COVID.

The waiver specifically notes that the exemptions do not cover any of the other rules found in Section 395 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, which establishes all the key regulations on truck drivers.  

The irony in the waiver, which was widely expected, is that FMCSA is just beginning to compile research on how much impact the waiver has had and how many more hours it is providing to capacity. FMCSA announced its initiative to gather data for answering those questions just last week. 

Earlier extensions to the rule were handed down in June 2020, August 2020 and December 2020, as well as late May of this year.

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  1. douglas dunn

    Why when COVID19 broke loss it takes the Amirecan trucker longer to get the shots to help stop this problem. When if any one in this job knows the solo driver before and now with E’Log could be two states away. And do we get thanks for our hard work from public no but nurses and Doc do all the time. Now here is a twister nothing is free in this country. so who is gong to pay for all these shots. Will be use paying that bill to the 3 companys that made this stuff.

  2. Derrick Hartman

    Fmcsa is a fraud. They all ran home at the beginning of the pandemic didn’t give a s*** about the rules or regulating anything in trucking and the trucking industry did a fantastic job without them then they come back and start slapping people with fines that they deem non-essential loads I’m so pissed at being a truck driver I wish we would all hang our Keys up for a while it would hurt a lot of people but it would restructure the power struggle that is going on in this country if you want us to work for you and you not work for us then we have it completely backwards and we need to change this

  3. Sandra

    I’m a retired driver and I don’t understand anyone who becomes a driver and doesn’t read their books, you drivers need to read that book and see that the federal government protects you. I myself don’t know how some of these drivers even got a CDL to begin with, I have talked to many and they don’t sound very educated. But good luck to all drivers and there is no scale as bad as Banning scale in California. Stay safe

  4. Calvin

    Agree with previous comments. There’s too many laws covering other laws that cover another law that ends in a violation. Nobody dares take a chance. You need to be a lawyer to understand most of it along with a bit of so are time to read the whole book. Then to remember it all. Then make provisions and put it all together psshh. I’ll stay where i’m at. I know enough to remain legal for now without the cluster f*** .

  5. Pharaoh

    The problem with using this rule is while the driver will be perfectly fine using this rule in the majority of states , there are scales like the one in Utah that will make their own interpretation of the law and shut you down . They torcher the law making their own version of the law . Do not use this law driving thru Utah on 80

  6. Joshua Turula

    Drivers are avoiding HOS waivers because States are choosing to ignore the waivers themselves and lying on citations in order to pad the books and write tickets for HOS violations

Comments are closed.

John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.