FMCSA Extends COVID-19 Declaration to June 1st
At this point, it is a little difficult to keep track of how many times this emergency waiver has been extended. As the country almost enters its third year of two weeks to flatten the curve, the Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration is not backing down from fighting the virus, directly and indirectly.
The new extension can be read on the relevant webpage. The new declaration exceeds 1,100 words in total, but appears to have much of the same wording as the previous extension.
In short, 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.
What might be an interesting addition for the FMCSA to add should they extend it again is to have more exemptions for shipping materials directly related to the economic fallout and supply chain shortages caused by COVID-19. Currently, high demand products such as lumber, rubber, and aluminum are not included in the declaration. Doing so would help with the interesting times we are currently living in.
As per usual with this extension, this only waives the hours-of-service regulations in specific ways. Shipping vaccines to underserved areas does not allow immunity from getting a DUI, for instance. If shipping under this declaration, you should still stop for rest if you feel your level of fatigue can impair your driving ability. In short, always remember to drive safely!
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