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FMCSA’s COVID-19 Relief Extension and What it Means for Truckers

Posted: April 01, 2021

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended a number of regulatory relief measures to May 31st, 2021. Among these is an exemption on hours-of-service regulations for truck drivers providing direct assistance to emergency efforts and an extension on permits and licenses up for renewal.

In the direct assistance exemption, truckers providing transportation of essential supplies are exempt from most requirements that dictate the amount of time a truck driver can spend driving. However, still under effect are the regulations relating to fatigued drivers and vehicle safety. 

The exemption is applicable for the following types of deliveries:

  • Livestock and livestock feed
  • Medical supplies related to COVID-19
  • Vaccines, supplies for the manufacture of vaccines, and other medical supplies and equipment for the administration of vaccines
  • Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety and sanitation including masks, hand sanitizer, and soap, as well as waste removal services
  • Food, paper products, and other groceries needed for emergency restocking

Mixed loads containing some of these items can take advantage of these exemptions, unless the exemption-eligible product is being carried solely to gain the exemption. In addition to waived hours-of-service requirements, the exemption waives record-keeping requirements as well.

There is no formal documentation required to take advantage of these exemptions, though keeping ordinary business records is helpful in case of future inspection. 

More information can be found from the FMCSA here.

In addition to this extension, FMCSA has also provided extensions to states on Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) and Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) regulations. This means that states can extend CLPs and CDLs set for renewal on or after March 1st, 2021 to May 31st, 2021. It also allows states to waive the 14 day wait requirement for CLP recipients to take a CDL exam and loosens medical examination requirements for CLP and CDL recipients. 

However, these exemptions are ultimately determined at the state level. The FMCSA is allowing states to waive these requirements but does not require them to. Check local state responses for more information on license extensions.