Hours of Service Regulations Suspended for Emergency Relief

March 18, 2020Alerts

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on March 13, 2020 issued an Emergency Declaration that provides relief from the hours-of-service regulations found in Parts 390 through 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

The Emergency Declaration applies to all 50 states and relieves motor carriers and drivers who are involved with the transportation of essential supplies, equipment and persons related to the nationwide COVID-19 response effort.

The regulatory relief extends to commercial motor vehicle operations providing direct assistance in support of emergency relief efforts including, but not limited to:

  • 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 for the emergency restocking of stores
  • Equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine, and isolation facilities related to COVID-19
  • Persons designated by Federal, State or local authorities for medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes
  • Persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services, the supply of which may be affected by the COVID-19 response

Direct assistance does not include routine commercial deliveries, or the transportation of mixed loads that include essential supplies, equipment, or persons transported with supplies, equipment, or persons not transported in support of COVID-19 emergency relief efforts.

Once a driver completes a delivery subject to the Declaration, the driver and motor carrier are subject to the FMCSR’s normal hours of service regulations; however, a driver may return empty to the motor carrier’s terminal or the driver’s normal reporting location. Importantly, if a driver informs a motor carrier that he/she needs immediate rest, the Declaration provides that the driver must be permitted at least 10 consecutive hours off duty before returning to the carrier’s terminal or the driver’s normal reporting location.

The Emergency Declaration will remain in effect until April 12, 2020 or the termination of the president’s declaration of emergency, whichever is sooner.