On March 13, 2020, the President declared a national emergency under 42 U.S.C. § 5191(b), related to the effects of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is aware that the motor carrier industry continues to experience operational disruptions caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency. As the Nation engages in a phased re-opening, the pace of return to normal operations will vary across the country. In some regions of the United States, motor carrier employers subject to controlled substance (drug) and alcohol testing under 49 CFR part 382 may be unable to comply with certain testing requirements due to the ongoing impacts of the emergency.
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. For example, employers should document closures or restricted use of testing facilities or the unavailability of testing personnel. Additionally, employers should document actions taken to identify alternative testing sites or other testing resources.
Similarly, employers who are unable to ensure that the dates for administering random controlled substances and alcohol tests are spread reasonably throughout the calendar year should document the specific reasons why they did not meet this requirement. For example, in addition to the lack of available testing facilities or personnel, there may be other factors, such as prolonged or intermittent driver furloughs due to the impacts of COVID-19.
The Agency issues this Notice to assure employers unable to fully comply with the requirements identified above that we will provide reasonable enforcement flexibility during this unprecedented pandemic, while also meeting FMCSA’s core safety mission. This Notice is not intended, and should not be perceived, as suspending the current random testing requirements.
This Notice pertains to employers’ noncompliance, during calendar year 2020, with the random testing requirements described above. The Agency may exercise enforcement discretion in connection with motor carrier investigations occurring in calendar year 2021.
1. Acknowledges the current and anticipated disruptions to the administration of drug and alcohol testing caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency;
2. Considers the interests of public safety and the continuing need to free up medical supplies and facilities for the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19;
3. Requires that employers who are capable of complying with 49 CFR 382.305(b) and 49 CFR 382.305(k) must continue to do so; and
4. Creates no individual rights of action and establishes no precedent for future determinations.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
“Transportation workers are on the frontlines of keeping our transportation systems operational during this public health emergency and their wellbeing and safety is paramount,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), alongside the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has been working with states, industries, and stakeholders to ensure that transportation workers receive the support they need. The cloth facial coverings secured by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be sent out over the coming weeks through the U.S. Postal Service.
Distribution of Cloth Facial Coverings:
Mass Transit and Passenger Rail 4.8 million
Aviation 3.8 million
Maritime 2.4 million
Freight Rail 2.2 million
Highway and Motor Carrier 2.1 million
Pipeline Systems 258,000
In response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency, the focus at DOT has been keeping transportation systems safe and operational so America’s economy can come back strong. Response measures have included stakeholder outreach and guidance, expanded federal financial assistance, and regulatory relief. A comprehensive list of DOT actions is available at transportation.gov/coronavirus.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today published a final rule updating hours of service (HOS) rules to increase safety on America’s roadways by updating existing regulations for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers.
“America’s truckers are doing a heroic job keeping our supply chains open during this unprecedented time and these rules will provide them greater flexibility to keep America moving,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
“The Department of Transportation and the Trump Administration listened directly to the concerns of truckers seeking rules that are safer and have more flexibility—and we have acted.
These updated hours of service rules are based on the thousands of comments we received from the American people. These reforms will improve safety on America’s roadways and strengthen the nation’s motor carrier industry,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Jim Mullen.
First adopted in 1937, FMCSA’s hours of service rules specify the permitted operating hours of commercial drivers. In 2018, FMCSA authored an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) to receive public comment on portions of the HOS rules to alleviate unnecessary burdens placed on drivers while maintaining safety on our nation’s highways and roads. Subsequently, in August 2019, the Agency published a detailed proposed rule which received an additional 2,800 public comments.
Based on the detailed public comments and input from the American people, FMCSA’s final rule on hours of service offers four key revisions to the existing HOS rules:
FMCSA’s final rule is crafted to improve safety on the nation’s roadways. The rule changes do not increase driving time and will continue to prevent CMV operators from driving for more than eight consecutive hours without at least a 30-minute break.
In addition, FMCSA’s rule modernizing hours of service regulations is estimated to provide nearly $274 million in annualized cost savings for the U.S. economy and American consumers. The trucking industry is a key component of the national economy, employing more than seven million people and moving 70 percent of the nation’s domestic freight.
The new hours of service rule will have an implementation date of 120 days after publication in the Federal Register.
The complete final rule is available here: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-service/hours-service-drivers-final-rule
Truckers have played a key role in getting America through the COVID-19 public health emergency. FMCSA has provided regulatory relief to commercial drivers to get critically important medical supplies, food, and household goods to Americans in need. The nation’s truck drivers have been on the front lines of this effort and are vital to America’s supply chain. The latest information, declarations, and resources on FMCSA’s response to the COVID-19 are available at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/COVID-19
May 13, 2020
EXTENSION OF EXPANDED EMERGENCY DECLARATION No. 2020-002
UNDER 49 CFR § 390.25
THE FIFTY UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) hereby declares that a national emergency continues to exist that warrants extension of Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 issued on March 13, 2020, expanded on March 18, 2020, and extended and further expanded on April 8, 2020. This extension continues the exemption granted from Parts 390 through 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) for the fifty States and the District of Columbia. This Declaration extends the exemption through June 14, 2020.
Emergency Declaration 2020-002 was issued following the declaration of a national emergency by the President pursuant to 49 U.S.C. § 5191(b) in response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the public health emergency declared by the Health and Human Services Secretary, and the immediate risk COVID-19 presents to public health and welfare. Emergency Declaration 2020-002 is set to expire on May 15, 2020. Because the Presidentially declared COVID-19 national emergency remains in place, FMCSA is extending the Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 and associated regulatory relief in accordance with 49 CFR § 390.25. This extension of Emergency Declaration addresses national emergency conditions that create a need for immediate transportation of essential supplies, equipment and persons, and provides necessary relief from the FMCSRs for motor carriers and drivers engaged in the transport of essential supplies, equipment and persons.
By execution of this extension of Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002, motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance in support of relief efforts related to the COVID-19 national emergency are granted emergency relief from Parts 390 through 399 of the FMCSRs, except as restricted herein. Direct assistance means transportation and other relief services provided by a motor carrier or its driver(s) incident to the immediate restoration of essential services (such as medical care) or essential supplies (such as food and fuel) related to COVID-19 during the emergency.
The extension of Emergency Declaration 2020-002 provides regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations providing direct assistance in support of emergency relief efforts related to COVID-19, including transportation to meet immediate needs for: (1) medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19; (2) 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; (3) food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores; (4) immediate precursor raw materials -- such as paper, plastic or alcohol -- that are required and to be used for the manufacture of items in categories (1), (2) or (3); (5) fuel; (6) liquefied gases to be used in refrigeration or cooling systems; (7) equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine, and isolation facilities related to COVID-19; (8) persons designated by Federal, State or local authorities for medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes; and (9) persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services, the supply of which may be affected by the COVID-19 response. Direct assistance does not include routine commercial deliveries, including mixed loads with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief added to obtain the benefits of this emergency declaration.1
Emergency Declaration Restrictions & Limitations
By execution of this extension to Emergency Declaration 2020-002, motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance to the national emergency are not granted emergency relief from, and must continue to comply with, the following Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and conditions:
In accordance with 49 CFR § 390.25, this extension of Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 is effective immediately and shall remain in effect until 11:59 P.M. (ET), June 14, 2020, or until the revocation of the Presidentially declared COVID-19 national emergency, whichever is sooner.
This Declaration extension and other FMCSA documents related to the COVID-19 national emergency are posted at fmcsa.dot.gov/COVID-19.
The American Transportation Research Institute and the Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association Foundation today released important research on impacts that the Covid pandemic is having on all aspects of trucking operations, including deliveries, travel times, detention and truck parking. Most importantly, the research provides recommendations and guidance on future strategies should another national disaster strike.
“The trucking industry has weathered national disasters in the past, and is doing so again through the current COVID crisis,” said ATRI President and COO Rebecca Brewster. “However, this latest data quantifies the challenges motor carriers and drivers are facing during this pandemic to keep essential goods moving.
Key findings include:
· Long-haul trips are down considerably as container imports at ports dried up. At the same time, local trips under 100 miles increased by more than 100 percent.
· While certain segments of the industry, such as medical devices, perishable foods and paper products, saw solid Covid-related increases in truck traffic – nearly 50 percent of respondents described freight levels as “somewhat” to “much” lower due to Covid.
· Nearly 70 percent of specialized and tank truck operations were negatively impacted. In nearly every instance, smaller fleets reported greater negative impacts than larger fleets.
· More than 40 percent of respondents said that truck parking was not any worse due to the Covid pandemic, but by fleet size, the larger fleets did describe truck parking as more difficult to find during the pandemic.
· The research confirmed that driver detention generally did not change due to Covid; however, owner-operators and small fleets experienced much worse detention delays relative to larger fleets.
· In terms of disaster planning, almost 80 percent of owner-operators and small fleets do not have any plan in place for managing operations during natural disasters.
· The trucking industry generally has a favorable attitude towards state and federal responses, policies and programs set up to address the pandemic, with the federal response viewed as more favorable than the state responses.
· The trucking industry’s perceptions about the country’s economic situation over the next several months leans slightly pessimistic – both in terms of freight movement and consumer spending.
“This research puts solid numbers to what we otherwise only suspected,” said Andrew King, Research Analyst for the OOIDA Foundation. “While we may be turning the corner on the Covid pandemic, we’re not out of the economic woods yet."
You can download the full report by clicking here.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is assisting in the distribution of one million protective masks to the nation’s commercial truck drivers.
FMCSA has been working with states, industry stakeholders, and motor carriers to distribute one million protective face masks for truckers which were provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Dates and times for the distribution of masks will be updated as they are established. The masks are being distributed in the following areas:
April 30, 2020
Distribution begins at 10:30 am
April 30 & May 1, 2020
May 1, 2020
April 30, 2020:
May 4 & 15, 2020
Texas inspection facilities:
To view all of FMCSA’s COVID-19 response actions, visit: www.fmcsa.dot.gov/COVID-19
Today, the American Transportation Research Institute is releasing new data that quantifies the continued impacts of COVID-19 business disruptions on the trucking industry.
ATRI’s latest analysis looked at truck activity across six states from February 9 through the most recent week ending April 18, by converting its real-time truck GPS dataset into a truck activity index.
“The GPS data we use is a valuable tool into what is going on in the economy and the trucking industry right now,” said ATRI President and COO Rebecca Brewster. “We knew from talking to drivers and carrier executives that there were significant impacts on operations as a result of COVID-19, but now, by analyzing this data we are able to put numbers and data to feelings and anecdotes.”
From early February into March, the data shows a spike in initial truck activity in the analyzed states – documenting the response to high consumer demand for items such as non-perishable food and paper products, as well as the much-needed emergency medical supplies.
The analysis further documents the impacts of the stay-at-home orders that shut down major segments of the economy, with a resulting decline in April trucking operations.
· Of the six states analyzed, California had the earliest stay-at-home order issued on March 19. California also experienced the earliest upward spike in truck activity, occurring during the week of March 1. However, truck activity in California is now down 8.3 percent from early February.
· In Florida, Illinois and New York, truck activity spiked the week of March 8 but is now down on average by over 10 percent from February 9.
· In Pennsylvania and Washington, truck activity spiked during the week of March 15, but is now down by an average of nearly nine percent from February 9.
There are initial signs of a return to normal, however. In New York, one of the earliest states to experience high numbers of cases, truck activity started a positive uptick during the week of April 12.
"In these unprecedented times, we need to rely on science and facts, not anecdotes and speculation. This ATRI research is able to tell us in near-real-time what the pandemic is really doing to the trucking industry,” said American Trucking Associations Chief Economist Bob Costello
Download ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER 2020-01
Governor Phil Murphy today signed Executive Order No. 121, allowing an increase in the maximum weight limit on certain interstate highways and toll roads from 80,000 pounds (40 tons) tons to 92,000 pounds (46 tons) for vehicles transporting COVID-19 relief supplies.
“Consistently improving our supply chain for COVID-19 relief supplies, including PPE, ventilators, and testing kits, is one of our highest priorities,” said Governor Murphy. “Increasing the weight limit for vehicles carrying these critical supplies is a necessary step that will allow more supplies to reach New Jerseyans in need."
“Getting needed COVID-19 relief supplies where they are needed is critically important to saving lives,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. “Increasing the maximum weight limit on vehicles carrying these supplies will help ensure that needed supplies get to the doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, and everyone fighting this pandemic as quickly as possible. Increasing the weight carried by trucks creates efficiencies in moving goods while addressing the reduced number of drivers as a result of the virus.”
The Order allows vehicles carrying COVID-19 relief supplies to obtain special permits issued by the Department of Transportation in order to operate on certain state highways and toll roads at a weight limit of up to 92,000 pounds. The increased weight tolerance only applies to interstate highways within New Jersey, the New Jersey Turnpike, the Garden State Parkway from Exit 105 Southbound, and the Atlantic City Expressway. It does not apply to I-78 Eastbound and Westbound bridges at Milepost 8.71 over Norfolk Southern Railroad in Hunterdon County, I-80 Ramp D (Landing Rd SB to I-80 EB) at Milepost 28.91 over Landing Road Northbound in Morris County, and north of Exit 105 on the Garden State Parkway.
The Order shall take effect at 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 8.
Permits can be obtained at https://www.state.nj.us/transportation/freight/trucking/oversize.shtm
Copy of Executive Order No. 121
Federal Highway Administration Issues Notice Allowing for States to Permit the use of Food Trucks in Rest Areas to Serve Commercial Truck Drivers
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today issued a notice to State Departments of Transportation that the agency is suspending enforcement measures under the Federal-aid Highway Program for States that choose to permit commercial food trucks to operate and sell food, in accordance with state laws, in designated federally funded Interstate Highway rest areas.
“America’s commercial truck drivers are working day and night during this pandemic to ensure critical relief supplies are being delivered to our communities,” said FHWA Administrator Nicole R. Nason. “I am grateful to our state transportation partners for bringing this idea to the Department and for their leadership in thinking outside the box. It is critical to make sure truck drivers continue to have access to food services while they’re on the job serving our nation during these challenging times.”
By statute, commercial activity in the federally funded Interstate right-of-way is prohibited with limited exceptions. The FHWA Administrator has the discretion to take any action deemed appropriate to bring a State into compliance with these federal requirements. However, given the extreme and unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, Administrator Nason is choosing not to take remedial measures against States that allow food trucks to provided food in rest areas off the federally funded Interstate right-of-way for the duration of the national emergency declared by the President in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis.
Since these actions are temporary, States must come back into compliance with federal law once the Presidentially-declared emergency ends. Any States that do not come back into compliance after the emergency is over may be subject to remedial measures designed to achieve compliance.
Read the full notice here.