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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has extended regulatory waivers related to truckers’ allowable work time, citing continuing public health concerns over COVID-19.
The waiver associated with commercial drivers’ maximum driving time for property-carrying vehicles was extended through Aug. 31.
“FMCSA is continuing the exemption and associated regulatory relief, because the presidentially declared emergency remains in place, persistent issues arising out of COVID-19 continue to affect the U.S. including impacts on supply chains, and nationwide reporting continues to demonstrate substantial ongoing use of the regulatory relief,” the agency said in a statement.
The extension was related to the coronavirus disease, and the immediate risk COVID-19 presents to public health and welfare, FMCSA said. FMCSA had previously modified the emergency declaration through May 31 to expand and remove categories of supplies, equipment and persons to respond to changing needs for emergency relief.
The extended declaration also has been modified to include transportation of:
- Livestock and livestock feed;
- Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19;
- Vaccines, constituent products and medical supplies and equipment, including ancillary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines, related to the prevention of COVID-19;
- Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants;
- Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores;
- Gasoline, diesel, diesel exhaust fluid and jet fuel.
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“Direct assistance does not include non-emergency transportation of qualifying commodities or routine commercial deliveries, including mixed loads with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief added to obtain the benefits of this emergency declaration,” the agency said. “To be eligible for the exemption, the transportation must be both of qualifying commodities and incident to the immediate restoration of those essential supplies.”
FMCSA said it amended the emergency declaration to address particular fuel needs arising out of the ongoing emergency and to broaden the categories of fuel shipments covered. “FMCSA has determined that currently the production and transport of these fuels is significantly impacted by the effects of the COVID-19 national emergency so no demonstration is required,” the agency said.