Report by Rick Schweitzer, NEFI Regulatory Counsel 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has extended and further expanded Emergency Declaration 2020-002, initially declared on March 13 and first expanded on March 18. The emergency declaration, which was set to expire April 12, now extends the exemption from driver hours of service (HOS) and other Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations through May 15, 2020, and further expands the relief expressly to cover liquefied gases to be used in refrigeration or cooling systems.

Click here to download the expanded Emergency Declaration, including the extended HOS exemption.

The declaration provides regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations providing direct assistance in support of emergency relief efforts related to the COVID-19 outbreaks, 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.

The declaration now also requires that a motor carrier whose driver is involved in a crash while operating under this emergency declaration must report any recordable crash within 24 hours, by phone or in writing, to the FMCSA Division Office where the motor carrier is domiciled. The carrier must report the date, time, location, driver, vehicle identification, and a brief description of the crash.