In an effort to maintain expedient chains of supply, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration last month eased hours of service regulations for orders of essential supplies. On Wednesday, the FMCSA announced an extension of the hours of service waiver out to the middle of next month.
The original waiver sought to provide emergency relief supplies across the nation. Stipulations required transported goods be in some fashion related to the coronavirus pandemic. Firstly, medical equipment and supplies, such as personal protection equipment like masks and gloves, applied to the waiver. Additionally, products for grocery stores, including food and paper products, made the list.
Then, the FMCSA also included raw, precursor materials used in the making of other goods, as well as fuel and equipment for the construction of temporary housing and quarantine facilities.
Any driver transporting such goods receives a waiver from hours of service requirements. The waiver does not include ordinary commercial freight, nor mixed loads with small amounts of essential goods. Furthermore, drivers still need at least 10 hours between freight shipments.
Hours of Service Waiver Extended
As the health crisis drags on, the FMCSA saw a need to extend the waiver. Originally, the waiver was set to end on April 12. With that end date looming, the regulatory body made a swift decision. In response to strained resources at grocery stores, hospitals, and other essential service providers, they pushed the waiver’s end date to May 15.
In addition to the extension, they added further expansions to the waiver. Alongside the prior mentioned goods, now shipments of liquefied gases used in refrigeration also count.
The official language used by the FMCSA said the waiver covers goods “for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores; the materials needed to make those things; fuel; people necessary to deal with the pandemic; and other equipment needed for the same.”