WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended an emergency declaration to July 14, as it continues to offer selected regulatory relief for those who haul specific Covid-19 supplies.
The declaration was originally set to expire June 14.
“A continued exemption is needed to support direct emergency assistance for some supply chains,” deputy administrator Jim Mullen says in a related announcement.
Motor carriers and drivers who are involved in immediately restoring essential services (such as medical care) or essential supplies related to Covid-19 are exempt from Parts 390-399 of the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Those include such things as hours of service, inspection requirements, and health and safety standards.
But the regulatory relief is limited to loads of livestock and livestock feed; medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of Covid-19; and 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.
Several other categories of loads that were included in earlier versions of the emergency declaration — such as those needed for the emergency restocking of stores, and liquefied gases to be used in refrigeration or cooling systems — are no longer included in the regulatory relief.
“FMCSA has concluded that there is no longer a need for emergency relief with respect to the other categories of supplies, equipment, and persons covered by the May 13 extension,” Mullen said.
Routine commercial deliveries – and mixed loads with a nominal amount of qualifying relief supplies – are not included, either.
There is also no relief from rules such as speed limits, driving while impaired or fatigued, or rules that prohibit texting or using handheld phones while driving. Those subject to an out-of-service order are not eligible for the relief unless the order is rescinded by the FMCSA in writing.
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