We wrote at the start of September that it was anyone’s guess as to if the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) would extend the hours-of-service suspension for hauling in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic. We now have our answer: yes, it is being extended.
The extension was announced on November 29th, just a few days shy of the declaration expiring. You can read the entire declaration on the relevant FMCSA webpage.
The declaration is very similar to the ones from before. It allows for truckers to haul beyond hours-of-service regulations if they are hauling nothing but these goods (mixing with normal commercial goods voids the exemption):
- 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.
- Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.
- Gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and ethyl alcohol.
- Supplies to assist individuals impacted by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is interesting that the fifth point is still on the declaration despite it hardly being relevant: people are used to living with coronavirus and as such are not hoarding toilet paper in preparation for the apocalypse.
Point seven, assisting individuals impacted indirectly from COVID-19, was included on the previous extension as well, and it is expansive in its vagueness. If people became unemployed from the pandemic and are looking for a new white-collar job, it might be possible to argue that a shipment of ties would be covered under the exemption.
As with every suspension of regulations, other regulations still apply. Do not drive while under the influence of controlled substances, and obey all traffic laws!
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