The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is seeking comment on its emergency declaration that provides motor carriers some regulatory relief when assisting the nation’s COVID-19 emergency.
On Aug. 31, FMCSA extended its emergency declaration until Oct. 15. Now, the administration officials want to know to what extent carriers currently rely on the declaration, if the usage is “fit for the intended purpose of limited relief” and whether there has been an impact on safety or the supply chain.
FMCSA’s declaration was first issued in March 2020, and was previously extended in May 2022. It provides for regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts intended to meet immediate needs for:
- Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.
- Supplies and equipment, including masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants, necessary for healthcare worker, patient and community safety, sanitation, and prevention of COVID-19 spread in communities.
- Equipment, supplies, and food for emergency restocking of stores.
- Persons necessary for establishment and management of temporary housing and quarantine facilities related to COVID-19.
- Persons designated by federal, state or local authorities for transport for medical, isolation or quarantine purposes.
- Personnel to provide medical or other emergency services.
Since September 2021, the primary categories of commodities transported under the declaration were food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distributions centers or stores; and livestock and livestock feed.
Between October 2021 and July 2022, there was an almost 50% decrease in transportation of medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19; and supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19.