Emergency HOS waiver expanded to include raw materials

Trucking companies and independent operators hauling “precursor” raw materials such as paper, plastic and alcohol used to make essential items are now exempt from certain hours-of-service (HOS) rules.

Those commodities, along with fuel and other items, were included in an expanded list of freight now included in a new emergency order declaration issued today by the Federal Motor Carrier Service Administration (FMCSA). Today’s declaration expands on items included in the FMCSA’s emergency order issued March 13 for carriers and drivers providing direct assistance in response to the coronavirus.

FMCSA Administrator Jim Mullen praised U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao for leading on the updated order.

“Under Secretary Chao’s leadership, FMCSA is providing additional regulatory relief to our nation’s commercial drivers to get critically important medical supplies, food and household goods to Americans in need,” Mullen said. “We will continue to support them and use our authority to protect the health and safety of the American people.”

With the items and commodities added today, FMCSA’s exemption, which applies to parts 390 through 399 of the agency’s safety regulations (which includes HOS), now includes:

  • 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 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.
  • Immediate precursor raw materials – such as paper, plastic or alcohol – that are required and to be used for the manufacture of essential items.
  • Fuel.
  • Equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing and/or quarantine.
  • Persons designated by federal, state or local authorities for medical, isolation or quarantine purposes.
  • Persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services.

As was the case with the initial emergency order, providing “direct assistance” in the emergency does not include routine commercial deliveries, nor mixed loads “with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief added to obtain the benefits of the emergency declaration.”