FMCSA Extends Emergency Declarations Again


In the wake of the continuing economic hardships imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced that it is extending its emergency declaration to provide regulatory relief for truckers involved in essential transportation assistance efforts. The commercial transportation industry has been essential during recovery efforts and has been instrumental in keeping the economy afloat throughout the pandemic. Easing of regulatory restrictions, coupled with risk management practices, Trucking insurance and other liability solutions, have allowed trucking companies to remain as a strong economic force despite logistical and health concerns.

Expansion of Emergency Declaration

On February 12, 2021, the FMCSA officially announced an extension of the Expanded Modified Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002. This extension continues the exemptions granted from Parts 390 through 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations for all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

The exemptions were first issued in response to the declaration of a national emergency in March 2020. Because COVID-19 presented significant risks to public safety, public health, and welfare, the FMCSA eased its restrictions for truckers. The exemptions targeted with direct assistance those drivers and trucking operations that were directly involved in transportation of essential supplies, including:

  • Livestock and livestock feed
  • Medical supplies and equipment
  • Vaccines and supporting medical supplies
  • Personal protective equipment and supplies for the prevention of COVID-19 transmission within communities
  • Foods, paper products, and grocery items for emergency restocking of retail stores and distribution centers

The extension runs through May 31, 2021. Trucking industry analysts expect that the FMCSA may extend the declaration again as conditions warrant.

Easing the Regulatory Burden on Truckers

Risk management in the trucking industry has relied on foundational elements such as trucking insurance, liability insurance, and adherence to regulatory standards. The COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on the transportation industry reinforced how critical those risk management components are in maintaining business continuity.

By declaring emergency exemptions for certain regulations, the FMCSA did its part to ease the regulatory burden on the trucking sector. These regulations include combination vehicles, hours of service, parts and equipment, and other factors causally related to emergency transportation of goods. It is important to note that trucking companies and their drivers are still responsible for adherence to specific safety and operational regulations, particularly:

  • Obtaining and maintaining commercial driver licenses
  • Drug and alcohol use in the workplace
  • Vehicle weight and size restrictions
  • Transportation of hazardous materials
  • Requirements for insurance coverage, such as tow truck insurance, semi truck, and cargo insurance

Trucking is a powerful economic driver, and the industry’s efforts in delivering goods from manufacturing and production centers to end users saved countless lives during the pandemic. As the economy begins to recover, truckers will continue to provide their essential services with safety and efficiency in mind.

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