FMCSA Extends & Modifies the HOS Exemption to Last Through Sept. 14

In the latest update to the May 14 FMCSA waiver, the FMCSA has extended the exemption to now last until Sept. 14. Additionally, the definition of motor carriers and drivers that provide direct assistance in support of the relief efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic has also changed.

This update marks the fifth such update to the exemption. Originally passed on Mar. 14 as the Emergency Declaration Under 49 CFR & 390.23 No.2020-002, the HOS waiver was designed to provide relief for truckers hauling essential goods across the country. 

With the previous extension that took place on Jul. 14, the definition of motor carriers was slightly changed not to include specific cateries that were previously covered by the waiver.

Exempted Categories

In this latest extension, the definition has been modified yet again, removing specific categories previously covered by the exemption. As it currently stands, the FMCSA has extended the emergency relief for the following categories:

  • Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19;
  • Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of the virus, including masks, gloves, soap and disinfectants, and hand sanitizer;
  • Livestock and livestock feed;
  • Food, paper products, and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers of stores – Previously removed from the HOS waiver, now back into the exempted categories
  • Immediate precursor raw materials – such as paper, plastic or alcohol – that are required and used for the manufacture of items in categories under 1, 2, or 3 – Remains as no longer under HOS waiver
  • Fuel – Remains as no longer under HOS waiver
  • Liquefied gases to be used in refrigeration or cooling systems – Remains as no longer under HOS waiver
  • Equipment, supplies, and persons essential to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine, and isolation facilities related to the virus – Remains as no longer under HOS waiver
  • Persons who are involved and are designated by Federal, State, or local authorities for medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes; – Remains as no longer under HOS waiver
  • Persons who provide essential medical and/or emergency services that may be affected by the COVID-19 response. – Remains as no longer under HOS waiver

The above categories are exempted from Part 390 through 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), except for the regulations listed below.

Regulations Not Covered by the Exemption

Although the exception covers some FMCSA regulations with the goal to provide relief for truckers who are providing direct assistance to the national emergency, the following regulations do not fall under this exemption:

  1.  49 CFR § 392.2 related to the operation of a commercial motor vehicle in accordance with State laws and regulations, including compliance with applicable speed limits and other traffic restrictions.
  2.  49 CFR § 392.3 related to the operation of a commercial motor vehicle while a driver’s ability or alertness is so impaired, or so likely to become impaired, through fatigue, illness, or any other cause, as to make it unsafe for him/her to begin or continue to operate the motor vehicle.
  3.  Motor carriers shall not require or allow fatigued drivers to operate a commercial motor vehicle. A driver who informs a carrier that he/she needs immediate rest shall be given at least ten consecutive hours before the driver is required to return to service.
  4.  49 CFR §§ 392.80 and 392.82 related to the prohibitions on texting while driving and using a hand-held mobile telephone while driving.
  5.  A motor carrier whose driver is involved in a crash while operating under this emergency declaration must report any recordable crash within 24 hours, by phone or in writing, to the FMCSA Division Office where the motor carrier is domiciled. The carrier must report the date, time, location, driver, vehicle identification, and brief description of the crash.
  6. Nothing in the Emergency Declaration or this Extension shall be construed as an exemption from the controlled substance and alcohol uses 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 49 CFR § 390.23.
  7.  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 writing.