An emergency declaration has been issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Here is the complete text of the emergency declaration, which was issued on March 13:
The President has declared an emergency under 42 U.S.C. 5121, et seq., and pursuant to 49 CFR 390.23(a)(l)(i), an emergency exists that warrants an exemption from Parts 390 through 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), except as otherwise restricted by this Emergency Declaration. Such emergency is in response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreaks and their effects on people and the immediate risk they present to public health, safety and welfare in the fifty States and the District of Columbia. This Declaration addresses National emergency conditions that create a need for immediate transportation of essential supplies, equipment and persons, and provides necessary relief from FMCSRs for motor carriers and drivers engaged in the transport of essential supplies, equipment and persons.
By execution of this Emergency Declaration, motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance in support of relief efforts related to the COVID-19 outbreaks are granted emergency relief from Parts 390 through 399 of Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations, 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 such as food, related to COVID-19 outbreaks during the emergency.
This Emergency Declaration provides regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations that are providing direct assistance in support of emergency relief efforts related to the COVID-19 outbreaks, including transportation to meet immediate needs for: (1) medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19; (2) 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; (3) food for emergency restocking of stores; (4) equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine, and isolation facilities related to COVID-19; (5) persons designated by Federal, State or local authorities for medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes; and (6) persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services, the supply of which may be affected by the COVID-19 response. Direct assistance does not include routine commercial deliveries, or transportation of mixed loads that include essential supplies, equipment and persons, along with supplies, equipment and persons that are not being transported in support of emergency relief efforts related to the COVID-19 outbreaks.
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 the COVID-19 outbreaks 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 the COVID-19 outbreaks, 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.
However, if the driver informs the motor carrier that he or she needs immediate rest, the driver must be permitted at least 10 consecutive hours off duty before the driver is required to return to the motor carrier’s terminal or the driver’s normal reporting location. Once the driver has returned to the terminal or other location, the driver must be relieved of all duty and responsibilities and must receive a minimum of 10 hours off duty if transporting property, and 8 hours if transporting passengers.
Nothing contained in this Emergency Declaration shall be construed as an exemption from the controlled substances and alcohol use 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 to 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 accordance with. 49 CFR § 390.23, this declaration is effective immediately and shall remain in effect until the termination of the emergency (as defined in 49 CFR § 390.5) or until 11 :59 P.M. (ET) on April 12, 2020, whichever occurs sooner.