As employers with commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operations face a web of federal and state actions related to COVID-19 (coronavirus), working with subject matter experts is key. At the federal level, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), continues to stay busy issuing orders and waivers on everything from hours of service (HOS) requirements to licenses and medical certifications. As we previously reported, FMCSA has exempted certain CMV operations providing direct assistance in support of emergency relief efforts related to COVID-19 from some of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), specifically 49 CFR parts 390-399, which include the HOS rules. The current order, which runs through June 14, 2020, lists nine categories of CMV operations that are exempted when providing assistance related to the COVID-19 national emergency, including when transporting medical supplies, food, paper products, raw materials, and other items. The exemption includes a number of restrictions and limitations, including that routine commercial deliveries or mixed loads aren’t exempted, state laws must still be complied with, and a 10 hour break is required when emergency relief work or a combination of emergency relief work and normal operations equals 14 hours.
In addition to the exemptions from certain FMCSRs, FMCSA has also issued a broad waiver for a number of commercial driver’s license (CDL) and commercial learner’s permit (CLP) requirements, including an extension of the license and medical certifications that have expired or are set to expire between March 1 and June 30. In the meantime, we’re hearing from our members about a patchwork of state actions, including Washington and California orders on HOS, and a separate Washington order on CDL licensing waivers.