FMCSA extends Emergency Relief Declaration to Dec. 31

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has again extended its emergency declaration relaxing hours-of-service rules for motor carriers that are providing direct assistance in support of COVID-related relief efforts.

The emergency declaration 2020-002 – originally set to expire on Sept. 14 – has been extended to Dec. 31, 2020, and applies to all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The updated declaration is posted on the FMCSA website, and is available as a downloadable PDF.

 

FMCSA Emergency Declaration extended

On Aug. 11, the FMCSA extended – and modified – the emergency declaration that was set to expire on Aug. 14. The modified declaration provides regulatory relief for motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance in support of relief efforts related to COVID-19, and has been expanded to included emergency restocking of distribution centers and stores.

Specifically, the declaration is limited to the transportation of:

  • Livestock and livestock feed;
  • 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, and;
  • Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.

Please note, this modified declaration is not effective until 12:01 a.m. ET Aug. 15, and expires at 11:59 p.m. ET on Sept. 14, 2020.

Under this declaration, emergency regulatory relief is provided from parts 390 through 399 of the FMCSRs, including the hours-of-service regulations. Emergency relief does not include certain FMCSRs related to the safe operation of CMVs, such as controlled substance and alcohol testing, financial responsibility requirements, CDL requirements, operation of a CMV while ill or fatigued, size and weight requirements, and additional FMCSRs which are outlined in the declaration.

We encourage everyone to review the applicability, restrictions, and limitations which are included in the exemption posted to the FMCSA’s website.

A PDF copy of the declaration is available for download as a PDF.

UPS, FedEx gear up to ship COVID-19 vaccine when ready

From Transport Topics.

While the medical community works overtime developing a vaccine for the COVID-19 virus, transportation and logistics companies are hard at work on strategies to ship it safely around the world once it is ready.

Some optimistic projections suggest that could happen by year’s end, so transportation companies want to be ready. Officials from corporations involved in that planning tell Transport Topics that the scope of the effort is unprecedented.

For example, UPS is building two freezer farms — one at its air hub in Louisville, Ky., another in Venlo, Netherlands — that the company said will store millions of vials of a vaccine at temperatures as low as minus 80 degrees Celsius, or minus 112 degrees Fahrenheit.

Read the full article on the Transport Topics website.

TETC sends letter of appreciation to trucking industry

The Eastern Transportation Coalition (formerly the I-95 Corridor Coalition) asked TAM to pass on their letter of appreciation to our industry for the risks and challenges faced by truckers. They want to recognize your commitment to move goods efficiently and safely during this time. The Coalition’s Executive Board is made up of the Secretaries and Commissioners of Northeast State DOTs, including Stephanie Pollack, Secretary and CEO. Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

The text of the letter is included below, but you can download the PDF with signatories listed.


Dear Kevin:

As the nation’s supply chains face unprecedented challenges related to COVID-19, one of the most critical factors has been the ability to meet customer and public health needs in a reliable and timely manner. While each modal component of the transportation system has been an important player during this time, the trucking industry has been at the very heart of it.

On any day, but certainly over these last several months and continuing, the industry collectively and truck drivers specifically, ensure that critical supplies reach the doors of America’s businesses, homes, and medical facilities. The drivers have accomplished this not only with great diligence and dedication, but often with great personal sacrifice.

The undersigned, as the Executives of our respective state agencies and comprising the Board of the Eastern Transportation Coalition, give recognition and thanks for the outstanding professionalism and commitment of the trucking industry and its hard-working and dedicated individuals during this time. The Coalition, a partnership of State Departments of Transportation and related agencies, acknowledge and appreciate the role that the truck drivers and the trucking industry play every day in the well-being of our states’ and the national economy. With trucks carrying a significant portion of the 6.5 billion tons of freight moving in our corridor annually, this event has shown an even greater emphasis and importance to that role.

As we move ahead on the road to recovery from COVID-19, please extend our sincere gratitude to your industry members – the companies and the dedicated drivers. As our individual states and as the Eastern Transportation Coalition collectively, we will reach out to you and your members to discuss how to further support the critical role the trucking industry plays in moving goods in this corridor and throughout the nation.

Sincerely,

Patricia Hendren, Executive Director, TETCoalition
Jennifer Cohan, Secretary, Delaware DOT Russell McMurry, Commissioner, Georgia DOT
Gregory Slater, Secretary, Maryland DOT
Kevin Thibault, Secretary, Florida DOT
Bruce Van Note, Commissioner, Maine DOT
John R. Cooper, Director, Alabama DOT
Joseph Giulietti, Commissioner, Connecticut DOT
Stephanie Pollack, Secretary, Massachusetts DOT

Diane Scaccetti, Commissioner, New Jersey DOT
Marie Therese Dominguez, Comm, NY State DOT
Eric Boyette, Secretary, North Carolina DOT
Yassmin Gramian, Secretary, Pennsylvania DOT
Christy Hall, Secretary, South Carolina DOT
Clay Bright, Commissioner, Tennessee DOT
Joe Flynn, Secretary, Vermont AOT
Stephen Brich, Commissioner, Virginia DOT
Shannon Valentine, Secretary, Virginia DOT

McConnell expects new virus relief bill this month

From Transport Topics.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell predicted Congress will pass one final coronavirus rescue package later this month and appealed to everyone in public life to urge people to wear masks to control the spread. …

McConnell said he’s “pretty sure” that a bill will come together in the next couple of weeks. He said it will be crafted in his office with consultation from the administration and then negotiated with Democrats, who endorsed a $3.5 trillion package approved by the House in May. Senate Republicans have dismissed that plan and are discussing a package of as much as $1 trillion in total spending.

Read the full post at Transport Topics online.

FMCSA may “Exercise Discretion” enforcing random drug testing

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced that in some locations, it may “exercise discretion” and not enforce minimum annual random drug and alcohol testing rates in areas still affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to the ongoing impacts of the emergency, motor carriers may not be able to fully comply with 49 CFR Part 382, that mandates certain testing requirements.

The notice, dated July 6, 2020, can be found online at the FMCSA website. In part, the notice states…

In recognition of these barriers to full compliance in some locations, the Agency may exercise discretion to determine not to enforce the minimum annual percentage random testing rates for drugs and alcohol, and the requirement that each employer ensure that the dates for administering random drug and alcohol tests are spread reasonably throughout the calendar year, as set forth in 49 CFR 382.305(b)(1) and (2) and 49 CFR 382.305(k), respectively. FMCSA emphasizes, however, that employers capable of meeting these requirements must continue to do so.

Employers must continue to select drivers at the required rate of 50 percent of their average number of driver positions for controlled substances, and 10 percent for random alcohol testing during the calendar year 2020. If a test is unable to be completed due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the motor carrier must maintain written documentation of the specific reasons for non-compliance.

Read the complete notice [PDF].

IRP plates expiration extended by three months

The RMV has extended the expiration date for International Registration Plan (IRP) plates from June 30 until Sept. 30, 2020.

Law enforcement agencies have been made aware that many jurisdictions have granted waivers or extensions for registration dates.

While the new expiration date for IRP registrations provides flexibility for RMV business partners and customers, the RMV currently accepting and processing IRP registrations and encourage you to renew your plates now.

Click here for information on how to renew your IRP plates.

New York, New Jersey, Connecticut – New quarantine restrictions on travelers

The Governor’s of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have announced a joint incoming travel advisory that all individuals traveling from states with significant community spread of COVID-19 quarantine for 14 days. Unfortunately, as of this moment, the announcement did not indicate whether the quarantine requirement would include truck drivers.

Our understanding is that essential workers, including truck drivers, are not subject to the 14-day quarantine as long as they are practicing social distancing precautions and other measures that safeguard the public health. It is expected that the additional protocols for essential workers will be issued soon since these new travel restrictions went into effect today.

FMCSA grants waiver from some CDL and CLP regulations

Waiver in Response to the COVID-19 National Emergency – For States, CDL Holders, CLP Holders, and Interstate Drivers Operating Commercial Motor Vehicles.

Summary

FMCSA grants, until September 30, 2020, a waiver from certain regulations applicable to interstate and intrastate commercial driver’s license (CDL) and commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders and to other interstate drivers operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). FMCSA has initiated this action in response to the President’s declaration of a national emergency under 42 U.S.C. § 5191(b) and the public health emergency declared by the Health and Human Services Secretary related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and section 4 of Executive Order No. 13924, Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery, 85 FR 31353 (June 9, 2020).

This waiver is effective July 1, 2020 and expires on September 30, 2020.

The full waiver, including a PDF is available online at the FMCSA website.

A Notice of Enforcement Policy Regarding Expiring Driver’s Licenses and Medical Examiner’s Certificates During COVID-19 National Emergency has also been posted.

FMCSA will exercise its enforcement discretion to not take enforcement action for the following:

  • 49 CFR 383.23(a)(2) – a CLP or CDL holder operating a CMV with an expired license, but only if the CLP or CDL was valid on February 29, 2020, and expired on or after March 1, 2020.
  • 49 CFR 383.37(a) – a motor carrier that allows a CLP or CDL driver to operate a CMV during a period in which the driver does not have a current CLP or CDL, but only if the CLP or CDL was valid on February 29, 2020, and expired on or after March 1, 2020.
  • 49 CFR 391.11(b)(5) – a CMV driver (i.e., CLP, CDL, or non-CDL license holder) or motor carrier that allows a CMV driver to operate a CMV during a period in which the driver’s operator license has expired, but only if the driver’s license was valid on February 29, 2020, and expired on or after March 1, 2020, and the driver is otherwise qualified to drive under 391.11.
  • 49 CFR 391.45(b) – a CMV driver or motor carrier that allows a CMV driver to operate a CMV during a period in which the driver does not have the current medical certificate and any required medical variance as required by 49 CFR 391.45(b), but only if the driver has evidence of a medical certification and any required medical variance that was valid on February 29, 2020 and expired on or after March 1, 2020.

FMCSA extends Emergency Declaration

Please review the most recent updated FMCSA update.  It is important to note that it does not cover all the carriers that have been covered up to now, so please review carefully.