Posted on March 20, 2020
On March 18, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) expanded existing exemptions to further aid emergency relief efforts as the nation grapples with supply shortages. Fleets and commercial vehicles providing direct assistance in emergency relief support efforts benefit from the expanded exemptions. Examples of emergency relief support include:
- Delivering medical tools and supplies to aid in testing, diagnosing, and treating COVID-19
- Delivering sanitary supplies in addition to equipment needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, soap, hand sanitizer, etc.
- Delivering emergency food supplies to restock grocery stores
- Delivering tools, materials, or individuals required to establish and maintain temporary housing, quarantine, or isolation facilities related to COVID-19
- Transporting individuals identified by Federal, State, or local authorities for medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes
- Transporting individuals that perform medical or emergency services
- Delivering any raw materials needed to manufacture the above essential items
- Delivering fuel
The biggest changes to the order include the addition of raw materials and fuel as exempted cargo. FMCSA further stressed this only applies to legitimate emergency relief efforts. Fleets performing routine deliveries that add an insignificant amount of emergency relief items to their load do not meet the guidelines for exemptions.
Fleets that are exempt don’t need to maintain records of duty status (RODS) logs, but FMCSA recommends making a note in the remarks section of activity logs to identify the exempt hours. This will help mitigate confusion or discrepancies in the future. Like the original declaration, drivers must receive a minimum of 10 hours off-duty time after returning from transporting property and eight hours after transporting passengers.
6 Things Not Covered by the Expanded Exemptions
Fleets and drivers must still adhere to several other safety regulations related to the following:
- Testing for controlled substances and alcohol consumption
- Commercial driver’s license (CDL) requirements
- Insurance requirements
- Transporting hazardous materials
- Size and weight requirements
- Any other regulations not specifically exempted by the updated emergency declaration
Some states are allowing for temporary changes to weight requirements. Many states are also offering a temporary grace period for CDLs on the verge of expiring, as many government offices are closing to adhere to the CDC’s social distancing guidelines.
Interstate Motor Carriers understands there are more questions than answers in these uncertain times. We are here to help your fleet keep pace with emergency relief demands while keeping your drivers safe and your risks in check. Contact us to learn more.
Posted on August 09, 2016
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate began to go into effect on February 16 of this year. But we’re still in phase 1 of the three-phase implementation process. Currently compliance is voluntary, as the FMCSA encourages motor carriers to prepare for their upcoming compliance requirements. Phase 2 begins on December 18, 2017. In this phase, carriers will be permitted to use only AOBRDs (Automatic On-Board Recording Devices) installed prior to this date, or ELDs certified and registered after the inception of phase 1.
In the third and final phase beginning December 16, 2019, all applicable carriers must enlist certified and registered ELDs in their transportation efforts. Currently ELD manufacturers certify their own devices for compliance with federal guidelines. Increasingly widespread use of ELDs is intended to help protect drivers from excessive road-time, reduce the likelihood of falsified logs, and standardize data across the industry. The mandate applies to most commercial vehicles with a GVWR over 10,000 pounds.
There have been legal challenges filed by some businesses and organizations – perhaps most notably the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), which has claimed that the FMCSA has failed in proving the cost-benefit ratio of the new regulations are beneficial to the industry. This transitional period in the industry is likely to provoke a number of challenges, both legal and logistical, but many carriers have already initiated compliance efforts with the forthcoming regulatory phases. To learn more about the ELD mandate and how your organization can comply and benefit, contact us.