On May 27, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) added more time to the already long-running “Emergency Declaration 2020-002 under 49 CFR § 390.25.” The exemption allows drivers relief from 49 CFR § 395.3, the maximum hours driving rule. It allows drivers to run nonstop, as long as they feel safe and in control, to the destination. They must then immediately take a 10-hour break, either by sleeper berth or off-duty, not driving status.
The exemption started back on March 13, 2020, the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. It covers the following commodities, which began as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and now covers livestock and livestock feed (bull haulers love this), medical supplies for use in COVID-related activities, vaccines for COVID and needed materials, food and grocery emergency restocking (recent baby formula activities fall under this category), and most recently heating oil, fuel, and diesel exhaust fuel were added (DEF is made with urea, some of which comes from Ukraine).
Now, there’s a caveat to using the exemption. You must send in records (log books) to the FMCSA monthly on the amount of time used for the exemption. So use it wisely, and do not push yourself beyond your limits. You are the captain of your ship. You can bet your salary that the lawyers that love nuclear verdicts are waiting for someone to mess up. You can read about the notice of the extension here. John Kingston, FreightWaves Market Expert, has been covering this as well.