U.S. eases HOS rules for truck drivers moving Covid-19 relief

by Today's Trucking

Covid-19 virus

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. has issued a national emergency declaration to provide hours-of-service (HOS) relief to interstate truck drivers moving emergency supplies in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. It’s the first time the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued such nation-wide relief.

There are still limits, though. Once a driver completes a delivery, they much take 10 hours off duty if transporting property, and eight hours off duty if transporting passengers. The rule also applies to specific goods and needs.

Routine commercial deliveries, or mixed loads that include essential supplies and equipment outside those involved in supporting emergency relief efforts, are not included.

“This declaration will help America’s commercial drivers get these critical goods to impacted areas faster and more efficiently. FMCSA is continuing to closely monitor the coronavirus outbreak and stands ready to use its authority to protect the health and safety of the American people,” said FMCSA acting administrator Jim Mullen.

The relief applies to operations that offer direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts, intended to meet the needs for:

*Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of Covid-19.

*Supplies and equipment, including masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants, necessary for healthcare worker, patient and community safety, sanitation, and prevention of Covid-19 spread in communities.

*Equipment, supplies and people needed to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine and isolation facilities relating to Covid-19.

*Food for emergency restocking of stores.

Relief is also provided for those moving people needed to establish temporary housing and quarantine facilities; for medical, isolation or quarantine purpose; and personnel to provide medical or other emergency services.

To read FMCSA’s national emergency declaration, visit: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/emergency/emergency-declaration-under-49-cfr-ss-39023-no-2020-002


Have your say

This is a moderated forum. Comments will no longer be published unless they are accompanied by a first and last name and a verifiable email address. (Today's Trucking will not publish or share the email address.) Profane language and content deemed to be libelous, racist, or threatening in nature will not be published under any circumstances.


  • Worried about covid 19 as a truck driver delivering up and down east coast I have always used disinfectant but still considered do I have any options

    Thank you

  • I’m very concerned since I am a shipping clerk and I’m within 1 foot from our very much appreciated truck drivers every day. Health concerned because this social distancing I don’t have that privilege , I still have to hand them paperwork and trust me when I say I’ve smelt things I wish I can take back!!! Just last week a guy showered me with spit while he talked and it landed on MY LIP washed my face immediately that’s how close! Not to mention if I can smell your breath that’s too close! That’s not even close to CDC guidelines. We ship to all the hot spot areas every day /week see same guys/ladies most of time. With none of them being tested how can I be okay with doing my job and putting myself and my family and everyone else at risk? Truckers have a higher risk and there is not one mention of 1 case of the virus here in the US which is hard to believe when China shut it down stopping the spread! Why aren’t people like me being thought about! Especially when I do not believe ceramic tile is considered an emergency and necessary necessity that has to be transported with a worldwide epidemic? I understand the need during these times for truck drivers but until I know the ones who delivered and picked up from the hot spot locations since this has began have been tested and I’m safe I’m in panic!!! Why can’t we ensure to check out these drivers we are using for emergency supplies, can you imagine if they had no symptoms then spreading it to the people at emergency center when dropping off causing them to possible catch it as well. The spread is excessive and aggressive spreading so fast and time is of serious importance we need to stop transports for non essential items so the important things are prioritized! We aren’t far behind where Italy ended up if you look at the projections. The time is now to really look at the big picture instead of your pocket books peoples lives matter. The United States needs to come together and do the right thing now!

    • I rarely ever respond to this type of forum but your rant is so offensive to all of trucking that I feel I must say something. Firstly, your in the wrong forum this is for truckers not shippers. Secondly, most truckers don’t have enough facilities to take care of themselves so not sorry about your experiences. You must be unlike any other human being who is scared to death right now. Truckers are not spreading virus. They are isolated in their trucks for the most of the day. It’s attitude like yours that creates unhealthy situations for truckers. Trust me they are doing it for the money just like you . You get to go home and seek a hospital if one is needed, unlike a trucker who has to drive himself to a place where they don’t have parking for big rigs. Truckers can be hours and miles away from help. Ceramic tiles are part of the country and maybe the tile is going to a hospital, you don’t know. Truckers are the most obliging people I know so if you have any issue with them being close to you, they would kind ly back it up. After all they likely have backed up more miles than you have driven ahead. Just be kind, that’s all.

    • My boyfriend is a truck driver. He can not shut down because people like you think they should. The trucking industry is what is keeping this country in motion. If you are uncomfortable with your job, then step away. I’m sure someone will gladly take your place. All these drivers are out there day and night driving all over the US delivering all types of goods/products of some sort. Away from their families and if you get right down to it. Working for the country!! If the trucking industry were to shut down YOU or anyone else would not have any food, clothes, gas etc. YOU and everyone else would starve because you don’t know the first thing about growing a garden or processing meat. Every truck on the road is just as important as the other. My boyfriend, however, hauls agricultural items. Something YOU would know nothing about. He brings products to farmers to use to feed livestock or help grow their crop. He takes crops to be processed in to food that people like YOU can eat! All this stuff in the stores just don’t magically appear on the shelf one day. There is a saying and its one of the most true saying ever said. “If you bought it, a trucker brought it!” So next time you see a truck driver. THANK HIM OR HER FOR DOING THEIR JOB SO YOUR FAMILY CAN EAT!!

  • I have been away from the industry for many years. I am declaring that upfront because maybe some things may have improved in terms of working conditions. The plight of Drivers remain close to my heart. I drive a lot just for fun. So many times especially at night I predict that any random driver is ‘in trouble’ and I will point it out to my wife. She knows exactly what I mean and she never worked for the FMCSA.
    Most of the ‘solutions’ continue to be patch jobs. Amend and relax HOS rules as long and as often as you like.
    Seems like the core problems remain:
    Unrealistic delivery times and not enough provision for adequate rest.
    HOS regulations do not address those realities.
    There are rogue drivers who think in terms of money and there short-sighted drivers who are intimidated by their employers . There are also rogue dispatchers who make ridiculous promises to customers. This makes the image of truck drivers seem so dark. Maybe one day on another planet that could change. I take some comfort in the minor relaxing of the rules in the current environment. When this covid business is over let’s fix the rules in favor of driver safety; not policy makers and Industry experts. In the meantime Drivers continue to do their best in an under appreciated role. I feel for them.