Trucking news and briefs for Wednesday, May 13:
FMCSA extends coronavirus HOS exemption
The U.S. DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has extended its nationwide hours of service exemption for drivers hauling loads as part of COVID-19 relief. The declaration now runs through June 14, previously set to expire Thursday, May 15. The exemption applies to carriers and drivers providing direct assistance for the emergency. Loads under the exemption include:
- Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.
- Supplies related to preventing the spread of coronavirus, like masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants.
- Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers and stores.
- Precursor raw materials like paper, plastic or alcohol
- Equipment, supplies and persons meant to provide temporary housing and quarantine facilities.
- Personnel to provide medical or other emergency services.
- Liquefied gases used in refrigeration and cooling systems.
OOIDA calls for an end to COVID overweight exemption
In a letter filed to Department of Transportation head Elaine Chao, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has asked that DOT work with states to end the waivers for overweight loads, which were put in place as the COVID-19 pandemic reached the U.S. in March.
Those exemptions to heavier truck weights were meant to help emergency supplies move more quickly. But OOIDA contends that those exemptions are no longer necessary and only go to exacerbate the supply-demand issues within trucking that have eroded rates.
“FHWA should work with states to ensure that their emergency weight exemptions expire as soon as possible and are not extended. If not, these policies will continue to add excess capacity to the freight market, further reducing already weak rates and worsening the economic outlook for tens of thousands of small-business truckers.”