Startups

FAQs: COVID 19 Emergency Declaration & HOS

Following my recent blog post on HOS suspension due to COVID-19, I got a spike in the number of HOS questions, specific to the Emergency Declaration.

Below are answers to the Top 20 Questions that our customers ask today:

  1. Does the Emergency Declaration apply to me?
  2. What services and supplies are covered by an emergency declaration?
  3. What would not be included in exempt services and supplies in a declared emergency?
  4. Are motor carriers required to obtain approval from the FMCSA prior to participating in the emergency relief effort?
  5. How do I know what emergency declarations are in effect at any given time?
  6. Where in the U.S. do the emergency exemptions apply?
  7. What specific Federal regulations are included in Emergency Declaration?
  8. Is there any specific documentation that I need carry or provide to a safety official upon request?
  9. What safety regulations are not exempted by an Emergency Declaration?
  10. What other regulations are not exempted?
  11. Do I still need to log my HOS duty statuses?
  12. Do I need to stop at an inspection station when operating under a declared emergency exemption?
  13. Am I still exempt while returning empty from delivering an exempt load?
  14. Does this Emergency Declaration apply to me if I move passengers or goods intrastate only?
  15. What about the news regarding rest areas being shut down in some States?
  16. What about the news of some states shutting down all dine-in restaurants at truck stops?
  17. Any fatigue management advice you can provide?
  18. What specific Federal regulations are included in Emergency Declaration?
  19. When will this Emergency Declaration end?
  20. Can this Emergency Declaration be extended?

GENERAL NOTE:

  • If you qualify under the emergency provisions, you are not required to log hours of service while providing direct assistance. However, we do recommend continuing to use your BigRoad app under ‘Emergency Driving Conditions’, even if you are moving freight that is exempt from Hours of Service rules due to the Emergency Declaration.
  • Remember to annotate your logs accordingly – guidance on how to do it in your BigRoad app here.
  • Furthermore, exception applies on a load-by-load basis. Not every load you move may be exempt.

BigRoad emergency

1. Does the Emergency Declaration apply to me?

The exemption applies to motor carriers and drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMV) that are involved in providing “direct assistance” in the transportation of the specific relief supplies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The declaration does not include routine commercial deliveries or the transportation of mixed loads that include relief supplies.

2. What services and supplies are covered by an emergency declaration?

In general, direct assistance includes:

  • Immediate restoration of essential services (such as electricity, medical care, sewer, water, telecommunications, and telecommunication transmissions)
  • Essential supplies (such as food and fuel)

It is not possible to list all that would be essential in each emergency situation, as the circumstances may differ from one to another.

3. What would not be included in exempt services and supplies in a declared emergency?

The emergency exemption does not include transportation related to long-term rehabilitation of damaged physical infrastructure or routine commercial deliveries after the initial threat to life and property has passed.

The services and supplies must be intended to meet immediate needs.

4. Are motor carriers required to obtain approval from the FMCSA prior to participating in the emergency relief effort?

No.  Just remember: Only motor carriers providing direct assistance to the emergency relief effort, as defined in the regulations, may participate.

Motor carriers that have an Out-of-Service (OOS) Order must continue to comply with that order during the emergency and are prohibited from providing any transportation of freight or passengers while the order is in effect.

5. How do I know what emergency declarations are in effect at any given time?

FMCSA updates known declarations of emergency on its website.

Regional emergency exemptions based on 49 CFR 390.23 are typically valid for 30 days or the duration of the carrier’s or driver’s direct assistance, whichever occurs sooner.

6. Where in the U.S. do the emergency exemptions apply?

Drivers responding to provide direct assistance to a declared emergency are exempt from applicable regulations in all States on their route to the emergency, even though those States may not be involved in the emergency or stated in the declaration of emergency.

7. What specific Federal regulations are included in Emergency Declaration?

Among the major Federal regulations are those safety rules relating to hours of service, vehicle maintenance and inspection, and general driver qualifications.

For your convenience, I have added a link to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

8. Is there any specific documentation that I need carry or provide to a safety official upon request? 

FMCSA provided guidance that there are no specific requirements to identify a commercial motor vehicle operating under an emergency declaration, or for any specific documentation that must be carried and provided to a safety official upon request.

Drivers should be able to explain to a safety official how the goods they are transporting can be reasonably linked to the bullet points I have included below for your convenience.

There may be discretionary interpretations by safety officials, based on the general description for the checklist below:

  • Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.
  • Supplies and equipment, including masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants, necessary for healthcare worker, patient and community safety, sanitation, and prevention of COVID-19 spread in communities.
  • Food for emergency restocking of stores.
  • Equipment, supplies and persons, necessary for the establishment and management of temporary housing and quarantine facilities related to COVID-19.
  • Persons designated for transport by Federal, State or local authorities for medical, isolation or quarantine purposes.
  • Personnel to provide medical or other emergency services.

9. What safety regulations are not exempted by an Emergency Declaration?

Drivers and motor carriers must continue to comply with:

  • Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use and Testing requirements (49 CFR part 382)
  • Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) requirements (49 CFR part 383)
  • Minimum Levels of Financial Responsibility requirements (49 CFR part 387)
  • Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR parts 100-185)

10. What other regulations are not exempted?

Declarations of Emergency that trigger the provisions of 49 CFR 390.23 do not exempt motor carriers or drivers from requirements relating to:

  • License plates
  • Taxes
  • Oversize-overweight rules
  • “for hire” Federal or State registration requirements

NOTE: some specific States may also provide for exemptions from State laws or regulations.

In addition, motor carriers or drivers that, currently, may be subject to an out-of-service (OOS) order are not eligible for the exemption, until they have met the applicable conditions for its rescission and the order has been rescinded by FMCSA.

11. Do I still need to log my HOS duty statuses? 

Drivers who qualify under the emergency declaration under 49 CFR 390.23 are not required to log hours while providing direct assistance.

The challenge comes when a trucker is no longer exempt.

Therefore, I recommend that all drivers continue to use their BigRoad ELD throughout the Emergency Declaration, in order to keep track of their records of duty status while providing direct assistance and when not exempt.

I further recommended that for future reference, you annotate the activity in the log “remarks” section.

In my first blog on COVID-19, I explained exactly how you can manage the ‘Emergency Driving Conditions’ option in your BigRoad application.

12. Do I need to stop at an inspection station when operating under a declared emergency exemption?

Weigh stations are managed by individual States, so requirements to stop may vary.  Unless advised otherwise, I recommend that you assume that normal rules apply for when stopping at an inspection station, even during a Declared Emergency.

13. Am I still exempt while returning empty from delivering an exempt load?

49 CFR 390.23 provides, in part, “…A driver may return empty to the motor carrier’s terminal or the driver’s normal work reporting location without complying with parts 390 through 399 of this chapter.”

A driver who informs the motor carrier that he or she needs immediate rest, must be permitted at least 10 consecutive hours off duty before the driver is required to return to such terminal or location.

Once the driver returns to the terminal or other location, the driver must be relieved of all duty and responsibilities.

Direct assistance comes to an end, when a driver of a commercial motor vehicle is transporting cargo in interstate commerce not destined for the emergency relief effort, or when the motor carrier dispatches such driver or commercial motor vehicle to another location to begin operations in commerce.

If a driver is returning to pick-up another exempt load after delivering one, the driver will remain exempt while running empty to pick-up additional exempt loads.

14. Does this Emergency Declaration apply to me if I move passengers or goods intrastate only?

The Emergency Declaration suspends the federal hours of service, therefore, I recommend you reach out to your state emergency officials to verify if you fall within this exemption, while moving passengers or goods intrastate.

For your convenience, I have added a link to State Emergency Declarations for you to contact the specific State where your home terminal or principal place of business is located.

Exemption map.
Image Source

15. What about the news regarding rest areas being shut down in some States?

This is a disturbing trend that started with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), suddenly shutting down rest areas in Pennsylvania on Tuesday March 17, 2020, citing concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

As we all know, truckers are the lifeline for everyone to ensure the supply chain continues to safely deliver medicine, food, fuel, water and other basic necessities.

Although some commercial drivers may have temporary relief from Hours of Service regulations, others do not.  Regardless of their status, trucker must be able to effectively manage fatigue, as they respond to this emergency, and rest stops are an irreplaceable component, along with commercial truck stops.

A number trade organizations including the American Trucking Association have reached out to President Trump to ask these rest area closures be re-opened.

Stay tuned, as I get more information, I will update in future blogs.

In the interim, if you are transporting goods or people in a state that has locked their rest areas, make sure to annotate in the remarks section of your log that you were unable to safely stop at a specific mile marker or named rest area that was traditionally open to truckers.

16. What about the news of some states shutting down all dine-in restaurants at truck stops? 

A number of States have ordered the closing or restricting restaurants to cut down on the spread of COVID-19 during the Emergency Declaration.

This means that truckers, providing direct assistance or not, are further challenged to deliver their goods, while trying to find a warm meal in transit.

For truckers who live out of their trucks for multiple days and may not have the resources to prepare meals in-cab, truck stops restrictions have become a major problem.

To help you prepare and plan for your next meal, I have included a list of restaurant closures and restrictions by State.

Food and Restaurant Regulations

STATERESTRICTIONTIME PERIOD
AlabamaJefferson County – All restaurants are limited to take-out or delivery service. (3-17 – 3/24)
ArizonaFlagstaff – All restaurants are limited to take-out or delivery service. (3/17 – 4/1)
ArkansasNone at this time
California

 

Bars and restaurants to close statewide – take out, drive thru allowed

San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa, and Alameda Counties – under a shelter in place requirement.

(3/16 – 4/7)
ColoradoAll bars, restaurants, casinos, gyms, theaters and other large gatherings places.  Carry-out, delivery and room service options available but no in-dining.(3/16 – 4/7)
Connecticut

 

All restaurants limited to take-out or delivery service(3/16 – 4/15)
FloridaAll restaurants must reduce occupancy to 50% and ensure 6ft distance between any group of patrons; limiting parties to no more than 10 individuals

Restaurants must prohibit any employee from entering restaurant premises if they meet any of the following: (1) any person infected with COVID-19 who has not had 2 consecutive negative test results separated by 24 hours; (2) any person presenting symptoms of COVID-19; (3) any person who has been in contact with any person known to be infected with COVID-19, who has not yet tested negative within past 14 days; (4) any person who traveled through any airport within past 14 days; and (5) any person who traveled on a cruise ship within past 14 days

(03/16 – further notice)
GeorgiaAtlanta – Restaurants are limited to 50 people(3/17 – 4/16)
IdahoNone at this time (3/17 – further notice)
IllinoisAll bars and restaurants must close – limited to drive-thru, take-out or delivery service.
IndianaAll restaurants limited to take-out or delivery service.(3/16 through 3/30)
IowaBars, restaurants, casinos, theaters, and gyms closed.  Delivery, take-out, and drive-thru okay.  All gatherings of over 10 people prohibited.(3/16 through 3/30)
KansasKansas City – recommended that all restaurants to take-out or delivery only.  Also prohibited more than 10 people to gather at an event. (3/17 – 4/16)
KentuckyAll restaurants closed to in-person traffic – takeout is still allowed.
LouisianaBars, theaters, and casinos to shut down.  Restaurants limited to only take-out, delivery, or drive through business.(03/16 – further notice)
MarylandBars, restaurants, movie theaters, and gyms — limited to take-out or delivery service.

 

(3/16 – 4/13)
MassachusettsBan on eating in restaurants and bars (take-out and delivery still okay).(03/16 – further notice)
MichiganOnly take-out and delivery allowed from restaurants; bars closed.

Limit to 5 people in line for carryout at a time; must be 6ft apart

(3/17 through 4/6)
MinnesotaBars and restaurants close – delivery, take-out and drive thru orders are allowed.(3/17 through 3/30)
MississippiNone at this time
MissouriNone at this time(3/17 through 3/30)
NebraskaPossible announcement coming on March 17, 2020
NevadaReno – all bars, restaurants, and gyms must close by 5pm on 3/20/20 thru 4/5/20; restaurants are limited to carry out and drive-thru
New HampshireBars and restaurants close – delivery, take-out and drive thru orders are allowed.
New JerseyStatewide curfew 8pm to 5am daily – gas stations are essential so can stay open.

All restaurants limited to take-out or delivery service.

 (3/20 at 5 p.m. – 4/5)
New MexicoAll restaurants/eateries/other food establishments shall operate at no greater than 50% of maximum occupancy and no greater than 50% seating capacity; all tables/booths must be 6ft apart(3/16 – 4/6)
New YorkAll restaurants limited to take-out or delivery service.(03/16 – further notice)
North CarolinaAll restaurants and bars closed as of 5pm on 3/17 for dine-in customers – take out and delivery can continue(03/16 – further notice)
North DakotaNone at this time(03/16 – further notice)
OhioAll restaurants limited to take-out or delivery service.(3/17 – further notice)
OklahomaOklahoma City – All restaurants limited to take-out or delivery service

Norman – All restaurants limited to take-out or delivery service

Stillwater – All restaurants limited to take-out or delivery service

Tulsa – All restaurants limited to take-out or delivery service.

2pm Conference Call Today
OregonImplemented a ban on gatherings of more than 25 people and restricted restaurants and bars to offer take-out and delivery only.
PennsylvaniaAll non-essential retail locations are closed (grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations are exempt).(03/16 – further notice)
South CarolinaAll restaurants limited to takeout, drive thru, and delivery.

All gatherings limited to 50 people or less.

 (3/17 – 4/12)
South DakotaNone at this time(3/18 – 4/13)
Tennessee

 

Metro Nashville close bars. Restaurants are limited to seating under 50% and bar service limited to 50%(3/18 – 4/5)
TexasDallas – All restaurants are limited to curbside, drive-thru, takeout and delivery.  (03/16 – further notice)

Houston – All restaurants and are limited to curbside, drive-thru, takeout and delivery.  Bars and nightclubs are closed. (03/16 – 04/01)

(3/18 – further notice)
Utah

 

Summit and Salt Lake County – no dine-in restaurants(03/16 – 4/15)
VirginiaNone at this time(03/16 – 3/30)
Washington

 

Shut down of restaurants, bars, entertainment and recreational facilities  – take-out, grab and go and drive-thru only (3/18 – further notice)
West VirginiaNone at this time
WisconsinNo more than 50 people in a location

Cease self-service operations of salad bars, beverage stations and buffets

Prohibit customers from self-dispensing all unpackaged food and beverages

(03/15 – further notice)
WyomingNone at this time(varies by City)
CanadaOntario declared a state of emergency.  Restaurants and bars must close (but takeout and delivery are excepted). Convenience stores may stay open.

Canada has closed the border to all except Canadians and Americans.

(3/16 through 4/15)

17. Any fatigue management advice you can provide? 

The golden rule is to continue to listen to your body, and not drive if you are fatigued or ill, whether exempt under the Emergency Declaration or not.

Here is a blog that includes some Tips for Reducing Truck Driver Fatigue

18. What specific Federal regulations are included in Emergency Declaration?

Among the major Federal regulations are those safety rules relating to hours of service, vehicle maintenance and inspection, and general driver qualifications.

For your convenience, I have added a link to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

19. When will this Emergency Declaration end? 

COVID-19 continues to evolve at a rapid pace, therefore, there is no timeline to predict when the Outbreak will get under control.

The Emergency Declaration remains in force through the termination of the emergency, or until 11:59 P.M. (ET) April 12, 2020, whichever comes first.

As we get closer to this date, FMCSA will likely revisit this timeline, based on circumstances at that time.

20. Can this Emergency Declaration be extended?

Yes, FMCSA may extend the 30-day time period of a regional emergency declaration, taking into account the severity of the ongoing emergency and the nature of the relief services to be provided.

If FMCSA extends this Emergency Declaration, it will establish a new time period and will post it on their website.

Via
Fleet Complete
Tags

More Articles You May Like

Back to top button
Share this
Close
Send this to a friend