The COVID-19 hours-of-service emergency declaration allowing haulers of certain commodities to operate outside the normal hours of service since March 2020 has expired.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration allowed the declaration to lapse on Saturday, Oct. 15. The agency last extended the waiver at the end of August, but only for 45 days rather than the 90-day extensions that have been common since the onset of the pandemic.
During a brief comment period last month in which FMCSA sought industry feedback on the ongoing use of the waiver by motor carriers, trucking organizations and drivers were generally split on whether it should continue or not.
The waiver covered provided relief for carriers providing "direct assistance in support of emergency relief efforts related to COVID-19." It was limited to a list of commodities that included:
- 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 (DEF), jet fuel, ethyl alcohol, and heating fuel including propane, natural gas, and heating oil