FMCSA Offers HOS Relief to Drivers During COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19, a novel coronavirus, uprooted the American economy and caused many concerns for the supply chain throughout the United States. As COVID-19 continues to spread across the globe, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has decided to expand the National Emergency Declaration. FMCSA has decided to provide relief to drivers transporting emergency relief during the COVID-19 pandemic of the hours-of-service regulations. The hours-of-service has been in place for over six million professional drivers since 1938. During this time, there has been minimal travel for all Americans and reduced imports from Asia. COVID-19 has caused many Americans to panic buy and stock up on essential items leading many essential businesses, including grocery stores, to be stretched beyond their limits

HOS Exempt Loads

With the new changes to the HOS laws, there are a few load types that fall into this exemption:

  • Medical supplies or equipment that is being used for diagnosis, testing, or treatment for COVID-19
  • Equipment or supplies needed for safety, prevention, or sanitation to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. This can include gloves, masks, soap, disinfectants, or hand sanitizer.
  • Food to help restock stores
  • Supplies and equipment used to help temporary housing, isolation, or quarantine facilities related to COVID-19
  • Anyone designed by the State, Federal or local authorities for isolation, quarantine, or medical reasons
  • Anyone who provides emergency or medical services in response to COVID-19

Safety for Our Drivers

While the HOS laws are currently lifted to provide supplies and equipment where needed, these long hours and time spent over the road can take a toll on a driver. To ensure the driver’s safety on the roadways, the emergency declaration states that when a driver has completed the delivery, they must rest for a minimum of 10 hours when transporting property, and 8 hours when transporting passengers. This means you will need to log when you are off duty for rest.

While many stores are closing, there are still many safe places to stop, shop, and rest. The National Association of Truck Stop Owners (NATSO) states they intend to stay open and continue serving professional drivers who are transporting goods and supplies to those in need of COVID-19 emergency relief.

COVID-19 is changing a lot of things within the United States and globally. However, we can all do our part. And, since we are the backbone of all supplies, and essential, we need to be extra cautious. If we are not needed outside of the truck, minimize time spent directly around people.  However, if you are required to be within the public, remember proper hand washing and hygiene to reduce the amount of transmission.

From everyone at Landstar, we want to thank all of our drivers for their endless and selfless support as you continue pushing on down the road!