As President Trump declares a national emergency and the nation braces for an uncertain future, America’s truck drivers are on the front lines of the COVID-19 relief efforts.
As Americans, we owe a thanks to these heroes of the road. With the help of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) unprecedented emergency declaration, relaxing restrictions on truck drivers who continue to make essential deliveries during the COVID-19 emergency, America’s truck drivers disregard their safety and continue to deliver vital goods across this nation’s highways.
The FMCSA’s emergency declaration, issued March 13, 2020, marks the first time in history that the FMCSA has enacted such sweeping nationwide relief. Specifically, the emergency declaration grants exemptions to particular drivers and deliveries regarding restrictions on drivers’ hours of service, required parts and accessories needed for safe operation and also allows longer combination vehicles.
These exemptions apply to truck drivers involved in direct COVID-19 assistance efforts, such as those hauling and delivering medical supplies, testing equipment, masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, food and personnel. On March 18, 2020, the FMCSA issued an expanded declaration, broadening the scope of “direct assistance” to include other materials, such as raw items like fuel and paper products. Under the relaxed rules, drivers are still required to receive a minimum of 10 hours off if transporting goods, and eight hours off if transporting personnel.
After issuing the declaration, the FMCSA expressed its thanks for America’s truckers, saying: “The hard-working men and women of the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) industry drive our nation’s economy. As our nation works to address the COVID-19 outbreak, the CMV industry is playing a critical role in ensuring deliveries and maintaining America’s supply chain. Thank you for all the work that you do.”
These Truckers continue to deliver necessary goods and supplies despite the increasing challenges they face with closing rest stops, no in-house dining facilities, restricted loading docks, federal restrictions on travel and unknown exposure to the virus. We in the defense of the Transportation Industry, thank and applaud these truck drivers for their incredible service.