Amid all the confusion and new questions surrounding the wide-reaching effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, truck drivers and trucking operations as a whole have still been moving along, completing their tasks and moving goods around the country. But while business may seem as it usually has been, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has been going to the drawing board to find solutions to freight and product needs that need to be met.
FMCSA Response Related to COVID-19
On March 18, the FMCSA issued an expanded national emergency declaration to provide hours-of-service regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers moving emergency relief products in response to COVID-19. This includes adding fuel and raw materials needed to assemble and manufacture essential supplies.
The declaration, spearheaded by Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, provides for regulatory relief for commercial trucking operations providing assistance supporting relief efforts meant to meet the needs for medical supplies and equipment for testing and treatment of the virus, food, paper products, and other groceries for restocking, fuel, persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services, and more.
The declaration outlined that direct assistance does not include routine commercial deliveries, however. Commercial fleets cannot add a certain quantity of qualifying emergency relief to a mixed truckload in order to obtain the same benefits as others under the declaration.
Trucking companies are having to reevaluate their daily operations and how they plan on covering losses due to interruptions or liabilities related to COVID-19. Necessary coverage such as general liability truck insurance is needed in order to protect any further potential for loss until entities, such as the FMCSA, outline relief targeted at helping trucking companies.
Here are some more updates from FMCSA to be aware of:
Temporary Waiver for Expiring CDLs & Med Certs
FMCSA issued a temporary waiver for States, CDL holders, CLP holders, and interstate drivers operating commercial motor vehicles in response to the COVID-19 emergency. Given the limited availability and operations of State Driver License Agencies and medical facilities, FMCSA has determined that it is in the public interest to issue a waiver, limited in scope and circumstances, until June 30, 2020.
The FMCSA’s waiver specifically extends until June 30, 2020 the maximum period of CLP validity by waiving Sections 383.73(a)(2)(iii) and 383.25(c) for CLPs that are due for renewal on or after March 1, 2020, without requiring the CLP holders to retake the general and endorsement knowledge tests.
The waiver also waives the requirement in Section 383.25(e) that CLP holders wait 14 days to take the CDL skills test while also waiving the requirement in Section 391.45 that CDL holders, CLP holders, and non-CDL drivers have a medical examination and certification, provided that they have proof of a valid medical certification that was issued for a period of 90 days or longer and that expired on or after March 1, 2020.
Furthermore, the FMCSA announced that it had also issued an Enforcement Notice, saying that the FMCSA will “exercise its enforcement discretion to not take enforcement action” on any drivers or carriers that meet the terms of the waiver.
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