Yesterday, FMCSA announced that they have expanded and extended the Emergency Declaration that was set to expire on December 31st. This extension includes the same regulatory relief for motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance in support of relief efforts related to COVID-19, as included in the September 11th modified and extended declaration. The primary change with this current declaration is the inclusion of vaccine transportation.
The expanded declaration published today is limited to the transportation of:
- Livestock and livestock feed;
- Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19;
- Vaccines, constituent products, and medical supplies and equipment including ancillary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines, related to the prevention 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, and;
- Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.
Please note, this expanded declaration became effective at 12:00 A.M. December 1st, and expires on February 28th, 2021.
As with previous declarations, emergency regulatory relief is provided from parts 390 through 399 of the FMCSRs, including the hours-of-service regulations. Emergency relief does not include certain FMCSR’s related to the safe operation of CMVs, such as controlled substance and alcohol testing, financial responsibility requirements, CDL requirements, operation of a CMV while ill or fatigued, size and weight requirements, and additional FMCSR’s which are outlined in the declaration.
We encourage everyone to review the applicability, restrictions, and limitations which are included in the exemption posted to the FMCSA’s website and below
Federal Motor Carrier
December 1, 2020
EXPANSION AND EXTENSION OF THE MODIFIED
EMERGENCY DECLARATION No. 2020-002 UNDER 49 CFR § 390.25
THE FIFTY UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) hereby declares that the continuing national emergency warrants the expansion and extension of the modified Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002. The expansion and extension of the modified Emergency Declaration continues the exemption granted from Parts 390 through 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) for the fifty States and the District of Columbia as set forth below.
Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 was issued following the declaration of a national emergency by the President pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 5191(b) in response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the public health emergency declared by the Health and Human Services Secretary, and the immediate risk COVID-19 presents to public health and welfare. FMCSA has previously modified Emergency Declaration 2020-002 to expand and remove categories of supplies, equipment and persons covered by the Emergency Declaration to respond to changing needs for emergency relief. On September 11, 2020, FMCSA extended the modified Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 and associated regulatory relief through December 31, 2020 in accordance with 49 CFR § 390.25. FMCSA is continuing the exemption because the presidentially declared emergency remains in place and because a continued exemption is needed to support direct emergency assistance for some supply chains. FMCSA is expanding and extending the modified Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 and associated regulatory relief in accordance with 49 CFR § 390.25. This notice continues and extends the relief granted in Emergency Declaration 2020-002 as modified on June 15, 2020 and August 15, 2020 through February 28, 2021 and expands the relief to include the transportation of vaccines and medical supplies and equipment related to the prevention of COVID-19, subject to the restrictions and limitations set forth herein. This expansion and extension of the modified Emergency Declaration 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.
By execution of this expansion and extension of modified Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002, motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance in support of relief efforts related to the COVID-19 public health emergency are granted emergency relief from Parts 390 through 399 of the FMCSRs, except as restricted herein. Direct assistance means transportation and other relief services provided by a motor carrier or its driver(s) incident to the immediate restoration of essential services (such as medical care) or essential supplies related to COVID-19 during the emergency.
The expansion and extension of the modified Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 provides regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations providing direct assistance in support of emergency relief efforts related to COVID-19 and is limited to transportation of (1) livestock and livestock feed; (2) medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19; (3) vaccines, constituent products, and medical supplies and equipment including ancillary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines, related to the prevention of COVID-19; (4) 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; and (5) food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores. 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.
Emergency Declaration Restrictions & Limitations
By execution of this expansion and extension of the modified Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002, motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance to the national emergency are not granted emergency relief from, and must continue to comply with, the following Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and conditions:
- 49 CFR § 392.2 related to the operation of a commercial motor vehicle in accordance with State laws and regulations, including compliance with applicable speed limits and other traffic restrictions.
- 49 CFR § 392.3 related to the operation of a commercial motor vehicle while a driver’s ability or alertness is so impaired, or so likely to become impaired, through fatigue, illness, or any other cause, as to make it unsafe for him/her to begin or continue to operate the motor vehicle.
- Motor carriers shall not require or allow fatigued drivers to operate a commercial motor vehicle. A driver who informs a carrier that he/she needs immediate rest shall be given at least ten consecutive hours before the driver is required to return to service.
- 49 CFR §§ 392.80 and 392.82 related to the prohibitions on texting while driving and using a hand-held mobile telephone while driving.
- A motor carrier whose driver is involved in a crash while operating under this emergency declaration must report any recordable crash within 24 hours, by phone or in writing, to the FMCSA Division Office where the motor carrier is domiciled. The carrier must report the date, time, location, driver, vehicle identification, and brief description of the crash.
- Nothing in the Emergency Declaration or this expansion and extension of the modified Emergency Declaration shall be construed as an exemption from the controlled substance and alcohol uses and testing requirements (49 CFR Part 382), the commercial driver’s license requirements (49 CFR Part 383), the financial responsibility (insurance) requirements (49 CFR Part 387), the hazardous material regulations (49 CFR Parts 100-180), applicable size and weight requirements, or any other portion of the regulations not specifically exempted under 49 CFR § 390.23.
- Motor carriers or drivers currently subject to an out-of-service order are not eligible for the relief granted by this declaration until they have met the applicable conditions for its rescission and the order has been rescinded by FMCSA in writing.
- Direct assistance terminates when a driver or commercial motor vehicle is used in interstate commerce to transport cargo or provide services that are not in support of emergency relief efforts related to COVID-19 or when the motor carrier dispatches a driver or commercial motor vehicle to another location to begin operations in commerce. (49 CFR § 390.23(b)). Upon termination of direct assistance to emergency relief efforts related to COVID-19, the motor carrier and driver are subject to the requirements of 49 CFR Parts 390 through 399, except that a driver may return empty to the motor carrier’s terminal or the driver’s normal work reporting location without complying with Parts 390 through 399. When a driver is moving from emergency relief efforts to normal operations a 10-hour break is required when the total time a driver operates conducting emergency relief efforts, or a combination of emergency relief and normal operations, equals 14 hours.
In accordance with 49 CFR § 390.25, this expansion and extension of the modified Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 is effective at 12:00 A.M. (ET), December 1, 2020 and shall remain in effect until 11:59 P.M. (ET), February 28, 2021, or until the revocation of the Presidentially declared COVID-19 national emergency, whichever is sooner.
Deputy Administrator Last updated: Tuesday, December 1, 2020