It has been a while since you last heard from us and there has been plenty of activity in the transportation industry. As the current COVID-19 pandemic continues, the FMCSA announced the deployment of new regulatory changes while the CDC released helpful long-haul trucker healthy-safety guidelines. Additional resources have also opened up to help truckers battling parking pandemic woes. Here are the top industry resources and regulatory updates that happened in the last two weeks.
FMCSA to Proceed with HOS Regulation Reform
While much of the recent FMCSA activity has been triggered in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the administration announced last week an upcoming regulation change to go into effect permanently. After fielding input from drivers and carriers last fall, the FMCSA plans to move forward with regulation changes to expand split-sleeper berth options and overhaul provisions around the 30-minute break requirement.
Revisions to the expand split-sleeper berth options rule will provide drivers with a second option to divide their 10-hour off-duty period. Drivers will have the option to also split their off-duty period into seven- and three-hour windows. To date, drivers have been required to split their off-duty period into an eight- and two-hour windows.
The overhaul provisions around the 30-minute break requirement will allow drivers to use their break during an on-duty, not-driving status. In addition, drivers will be allowed to use their break within their first eight hours of drive time instead of the current first eight hours on-duty requirement.
It is important to also note that the upcoming regulation changes will not affect the daily 14-hour on-duty or 11-hour drive-time limit. There will however be an expansion on the adverse driving conditions provision. Drivers will be allowed to extend both their drive-time window and time on-duty by two hours if they encounter adverse driving conditions such as weather or traffic congestion. Drivers have the option to sit and wait out conditions or drive slowly through them.
Finally, exemptions for short-haul drivers will be expanded. Short-haul drivers will be able to extend their allowed on-duty period from 12 hours to 14 hours. Additionally, the short-haul radius threshold will be extended from 100 air miles to 150 air miles. Drivers who quality for the short-haul exemption are not required to maintain records of their duty status. Read additional details in this CCJ Magazine news brief.
All changes will go into effect in 120 days of the publication filing. The FMCSA has published a complete summary on the final rule that can be downloaded from here.
FMCSA Extends COVID-19 Related Emergency Declaration
The FMCSA has also announced its decision to extend COVID-19 related emergency declarations. The extension will last until June 14 and hours-of-serve regulations for drivers responding to the pandemic relief will be exempted.
As a reminder, drivers are exempted if they are transporting vital goods, necessities, or personnel such as:
- Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19
- Food, paper products, and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores
- Persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services, the supply of which may be affected by the COVID-19 response
Read more here for additional criteria and requirements to be eligible for HOS regulatory relief.
CDC Creates Long-Haul Trucker Specific COVID-19 Guidelines
As many carriers have begun to implement their own fleet health-safety practices, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued specific guidelines to help long-haul truck drivers and their employers protect themselves. The guidelines include proper hygiene practices and recommended personal protective equipment (PPE) for truckers to utilize. Also included in the CDC’s guidelines are carrier recommended steps to eliminate virus transmission and maintain a healthy work environment. Be sure to review these guidelines with your fleet.
109 New Truck Parking Spots Available in Alabama and Mississippi
Have you been struggling to find truck parking these past 2 months? For truckers facing parking woes because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores has recently opened two new store locations with much needed truck parking spaces.
The two new locations are located in Smiths Station, Alabama (off U.S. Highway 280) and Walnut, Mississippi (off U.S. Highway 72). Both locations account for 109 new truck parking spots alongside a variety of amenities for truck drivers to utilize. Check out a brief overview of the available amenities here. While both locations are now open for business, Love’s is currently employing various COVID-19 related safety practices which can be found here.