TRUCKING AND TRANSPORTATION Q & A (COVID-19)

Three-Month Waiver in Response to the COVID-19 Emergency – For States and CLP Holders Operating Commercial Motor Vehicles – 3/28/20

FMCSA published a waiver related to Commercial Learners Permit (CLP). The official notice can be found here. The waiver does the following:

  • Waives the requirement under 49 CFR 383.25(a)(1) that a CLP holder be accompanied by a CDL holder, with the proper CDL class and endorsements, seated in the front seat of the vehicle while the CLP holder operates a CMV on public roads or highways. Under the terms, conditions, and restrictions of this waiver, a CLP holder may operate a CMV on public roads or highways without an accompanying CDL holder present in the front seat of the vehicle, provided that the CDL holder is elsewhere in the cab, the CLP holder is in possession of evidence from the testing jurisdiction, including an authorized third-party tester, that the CLP holder has passed the CDL driving skills test, and, unless the FMCSA waiver issued on March 24, 2020 applies, that the CLP holder has a valid non-CDL driver’s license, CLP, and medical certificate.
  • Waives the restriction under 49 CFR 383.79(a) that limits a State to administering a driving skills test, in accordance with subparts F, G, and H of 49 CFR part 383, to a nondomiciled CDL applicant who has taken driver training in that State. Under the terms, conditions, and restrictions of this waiver, a State may elect to administer a driving skills test to any nondomiciled CDL applicant, regardless of where the applicant received driver training. Read More..


COVID-19 Relief Effort Supply Permit – 3/27/20

Overweight permits may be issued by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and fees shall be waived for transportation of inventory to supply grocery retailers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic on Wisconsin highways. “Wisconsin highways” includes the National Defense Highway System pursuant to 23 USC 127(i).

The department may issue a permit for the transportation of inventory to supply grocery retailers impacted by the increase in sales resulting from the COVID – 19 Coronavirus.  Such authorization may only allow weights not more than 10 percent greater than the gross axle, gross axle combination, or gross vehicle weight limitations under ss. 348.15.

A permit issued under this order does not authorize the operation of any vehicle combination at a maximum gross weight in excess of 88,000 pounds.

This order does not apply to class II highways, posted bridges and local highways with special, seasonal or Class B weight limit postings. https://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/dmv/com-drv-vehs/mtr-car-trkr/ssnl-wt-rsrctns/default.aspx

Interstate and intrastate carriers providing direct emergency relief to supply grocery retailers are relieved from the requirements contained in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, Title 49 C.F.R. Parts 390-399 and Wis. Admin. Code TRANS 325 and 327, subject to the restrictions and limitations described Under 49 C.F.R. ss. 390.23. The relief under this paragraph is valid until April 11th.
Emergency Order #14 Relating to Extending the Department of Transportation Emergency Permits to Assist
with Grocery Supply Efforts

Instructions to apply for COVID-19 Relief Effort Supply Permit


Overweight Permits for Truckers Hauling Groceries Extended
At the direction of Gov. Tony Evers, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) today announced a two-week extension for overweight permits that allow truckers to supply grocery stores impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. For the 489 fleet permits already issued, which cover more than 15,000 trucks, no action is required for the automatic extension. The permits had been set to expire March 28.
“Truckers across the country are hard at work to keep grocery shelves in stock, and we want to do everything we can to help,” WisDOT Secretary-designee Craig Thompson said. “The number of these permits in use shows tremendous demand, and I want to thank everyone involved in this effort.”
https://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/about-wisdot/newsroom/news-rel/032620permitextension.aspx

FMCSA Frequently Asked Questions –  Part 2
An additional round of Emergency Declaration FAQ’s – Part 2  have been posted to the website, covering important questions such as the inclusion of feed under the exemption and other products.
https://witruck.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/96/2020/03/Emergency-Declaration-FAQs-part-2.pdf


FMCSA COVID-19 Drug & Alcohol Testing Guidelines
https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/emergency/fmcsa-covid-19-drug-alcohol-testing-guidance
FMCSA published guidance related to drug and alcohol testing. The guidance addresses actions the motor carrier should take in the event they are not able to perform a DOT required test. In some cases, the employer is able to document why the test could not be completed.

Enforcement Notice on Expiring CDLs 

This Notice of Enforcement Policy, effective from March 24, 2020 to June 30, 2020, provides needed relief from specified FMCSRs for CLP holders, CDL holders, and non-CDL drivers and motor carriers using those drivers.  This Notice of Enforcement Policy applies to all CLP holders, CDL holders, and non-CDL drivers whose license was issued for less than the maximum period established by 49 CFR 383.25 and 383.73 and was valid on February 29, 2020 and expired on or after March 1, 2020.

Waiver for States, CDL Holders, CLP Holders, and Interstate Drivers Operating Commercial Motor Vehicles

The waiver is effective until June 30, 2020 and provides important relief resulting from situations where many CDL and CLP holders are unable to renew their CDLs and CLPs and are unable to provide medical certificates to their State Driver Licensing Agencies. In addition, many medical providers nationwide have canceled regularly scheduled appointments to dedicate resources to the COVID-19 response. As a result, drivers are unable to obtain appointments for physical examinations with medical examiners.

PHMSA Notice of Enforcement Policy Relating to HM Training

PHMSA has provided there will not take enforcement action taken against any HM employer and/or HM employee unable to provide the required “recurrent training” during the Covid-19 pandemic.  This policy was coordinated across the Department and applies to FMCSA and all modes.  It does not apply to initial training, or the need to have a new HM employee work under the supervision of a trained HM employee until they can get their initial training.

Emergency Declarations Page

DOT Guidance on Complying with Drug and Alcohol Testing

FMCSA Emergency Declaration FAQ 3-19-20.pdf

Are loads that include supplies related to direct assistance under the emergency declaration mixed with other, un-related materials covered under the declaration?

Generally, yes, however, mixed loads with only a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief added to obtain the benefits of this emergency declaration are not covered.

Is a driver required to take a 30-minute break?

No, none of the hours of service regulations apply while the driver is engaged with providing direct assistance under the emergency relief exemption.

How do the hours a driver worked under the emergency exemption impact the 60/70-hour rule when the driver goes back to normal operations?

The hours worked providing direct assistance under the emergency relief exemption do not count toward the 60/70- hour rule.

Is a 34-hour restart required after providing direct assistance under the emergency declaration?

No, however, upon completion of the direct assistance and prior to returning to normal operations, the driver is required to meet the requirements of §§ 395.3(a) and (c) and 395.5(a), which include, for example, the requirement to take 10 hours off duty (8 hours for passenger carriers) and to comply with the on-duty limit of 60/70 hours in 7/8 days before returning to driving.

Is the driver required to use a paper logbook or ELD?

No, the emergency exemption includes relief from all the hours-of service regulations in 49 CFR part 395, including the recordkeeping requirements (i.e., records of duty status (RODS)).

If there is an ELD in the truck, what should a driver do to account for the miles driven?

There are three options

  1. Use the “authorized personal use” (personal conveyance) function of the ELD to record all of the time providing direct assistance under the exemption.  Use of this function will result in the time being recorded as off duty and requires an annotation.
  2. Use the ELD in its normal mode and annotate the ELD record to indicate they were driving under the emergency relief exemption; or
  3. Turn off the ELD, in which case the carrier would address the unassigned miles in accordance with the current regulation.

What does a driver need to do if taking a backhaul not covered by the exemption after transporting an exempt load?

Upon completion of the direct assistance activities and prior to returning to normal operations, the driver is required to take 10 consecutive hours off duty before driving.  All the time the driver spends engaged in work-related activities that are not associated with providing direct assistance must be counted under the HOS rules.

Are livestock a covered commodity under the terms of the emergency declaration?

Yes, Livestock are covered as a precursor to food. The emergency declaration covers “immediate precursor raw materials—such as paper, plastic or alcohol—that are required and to be used for the manufacture of items” including food needed for the emergency restocking of stores.

Are haulers of household waste and medical waste covered under the terms of the declaration?

Yes, transportation for removal of both household and medical waste is covered as “supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19.”

What documentation is needed to verify that the driver is operating under the exemption?

There is no specific documentation required for verification.  Retention of ordinary business records, such as the bill of lading, may be useful later for the convenience of the motor carrier and driver, to document use of the exemption during a future inspection or enforcement action.

Does FMCSA have preemptive authority over states that decide/attempt to close highway rest stops?

No, however FMCSA is working closely with the States to ensure adequate truck parking and facilities are available.

 

CISA Releases Guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers-
March 19, 2020
CISA Guidance 

Wisconsin DMV Update – March 19, 2020

Wisconsin DOT Update – March 18, 2020

WisDOT is extending the expiration date for all CDLs, including CDL permits by 60 days.  This will happen automatically for anyone with an expiration date during this public health emergency.

CDL Training Schools make their own operating decisions, but WisDOT has been notified that the following CDL training schools have closed their truck driving courses or will be closing by EOD:

  • Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC)
  • Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College (WITC)
  • Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC)
  • Diesel Truck Driver Training School (DDTS)

WisDOT has been notified that the following CDL 3rd party testers are holding on testing for the time being:

  • Oconomowoc Transport
  • Marshfield Bus
  • Don Heldt
  • St. Croix CDL
  • CVTC
  • WITC
  • DDTS

Instructions to apply for COVID-19 Relief Effort Supply Permit

COVID-19 Permit Information and Application Instructions

For more information, go to:  https://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/dmv/com-drv-vehs/mtr-car-trkr/osowgeneral.aspx

FMCSA Expands National Emergency Declaration

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety  Administration (FMCSA) today issued an expanded national emergency declaration to provide hours-of-service regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers transporting emergency relief in response to the nationwide coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

“Under Secretary Chao’s leadership, FMCSA is providing additional regulatory relief to our nation’s commercial drivers to get critically important medical supplies, food, and household goods to Americans in need. The nation’s truck drivers are on the front lines of this effort and are critical to America’s supply chain. We will continue to support them and use our authority to protect the health and safety of the American people,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Jim Mullen.

FMCSA’s expanded declaration 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 necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants.
  • Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.
  • Immediate precursor raw materials—such as paper, plastic or alcohol—that are required and to be used for the manufacture of essential items.
  • Fuel.
  • Equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine.
  • Persons designated by federal, state or local authorities for medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes.
  • Persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services.

The expanded declaration stipulates that 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 the emergency declaration.

To ensure continue safety on the nation’s roadways, the emergency declaration stipulates that once a driver has completed his or her delivery, the drive must receive a minimum of 10 hours off duty if transporting property, and 8 hours if transporting passengers.

FMCSA’s emergency declaration is the first time the Agency has issued nation-wide relief and follows President Trump issuing of a national emergency declaration in response to the virus.

To read expanded FMCSA’s national emergency declaration, visit: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/emergency/expanded-emergency-declaration-under-49-cfr-ss-39023-no-2020-002

FMCSA Announces Emergency Proclamations

We wanted to let you know that overnight FMCSA has posted the emergency declaration and details with respect to targeted, limited relief from Hours of Service (HOS) for COVID-19 emergency efforts on their website. We appreciate the clarity the agency is able to provide now and will be working with regulators and businesses to answer questions that will arise in the coming days and weeks.  Please read the declaration, and we will call your attention to the section clarifying what qualifies for this emergency relief from HOS regulations.

This Emergency Declaration provides regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations that are 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 for emergency restocking of stores;
  4. equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine, and isolation facilities related to COVID-19;
  5. persons designated by Federal, State or local authorities for medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes; and
  6. 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, or transportation of mixed loads that include essential supplies, equipment and persons, along with supplies, equipment and persons that are not being transported in support of emergency relief efforts related to the COVID-19 outbreaks. 

WMCA will continue to monitor any emergency proclamations and will notify members as soon as they become available; however, please also stay informed by visiting FMCSA’s website.

 

FMCSA EMERGENCY DECLARATION QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

The Emergency Declaration states that it “grants relief” from certain parts of the Regulations, Parts 390 – 399. What Parts NOT exempted under the Declaration?
Regulations that are not exempted under the Emergency Declaration would include: Controlled substance and Alcohol testing (Part 382); Commercial Driver’s License Requirements (Part 383): Insurance requirements (Part 387); Hazardous Materials Regulations (Part 100-180); Applicable size and weight requirements; or any other portion of the regulations not specifically exempted under Part 390.23.

We haul medical supplies for a customer. Are we able to use the emergency exemption?
If the medical supplies are related to the testing, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19 you would be able to utilize the HOS exemption. If the shipment is a routine shipment or is part of a mixed load of emergency and non-emergency supplies the exemption would not be applicable.

We transport food and supplies to grocery stores around the Midwest. Are we able to use the Hours of Service exemption during this emergency?
Yes, the Emergency Declaration grants relief from the Hours of Service regulations. Drivers delivering relief products, such as food, sanitary supplies, medical supplies, etc. are exempt from the Hours of Service regulations during this time. As with any HOS exemption, drivers are not allowed to drive once they have informed the carrier that they are tired. They must then be allowed a 10-hour break prior to driving.

In utilizing the HOS exemption to restock our stores we plan on limiting drivers to 14-hour days, with 10 hours breaks, but are thinking about using them 6 or 7 days per week rather than their normal 4 or 5 days per week. Can we legally do that until the stores are restocked and/or the emergency is over?
Yes, that makes total sense. In coming up with a plan like that you are ensuring that your drivers get their 10 hours off for rest, but also making wise use of your assets to replenish store supplies that are so needed to keep America moving. 

How do we complete our logs on an ELD when using the exemption?
Obviously the ELD will document all time spent driving and on-duty not driving. In these situations the driver should note on on the log that they were using the ELD exemption at the time.

What situations should we be aware of concerning Hours of Service that might get us in trouble?
Drivers can use the exemption while transporting the included relief supplies. Carriers and drivers should be cautious, however, to ensure that they are compliant once they are no longer transporting the emergency supplies. Once they are no no longer hauling these supplies, or are moving to pick up another load of emergency supplies, they are subject to all regulations. (i.e. delivering a load of relief supplies to a location but then dispatched on a normal run or normal customer).

Do I have to take a 34-hour restart at the end of the week if I am using the HOS exemption?
No, drivers are exempt from the HOS regulations when transporting emergency relief supplies, so the 34-hour restart is not necessary, as it is normally optional anyway. The key is that fatigued drivers should not be driving, so taking a 10-hour break after a driver notifies a company of their fatigue is mandatory.

Does the FMCSA Emergency Declaration allow us to haul overweight to get more product to the stores?
No. Nothing in the Declaration allows for additional weight to be hauled more than is normally legal.

Are HOS regulations waived for movement from manufacturing to distribution centers?
Yes, provided the movement is products covered by the declaration.

There is some confusion at state or local levels on HOS. How is FMCSA working for guidance at state level?
Asking for specifics as to where this is happening. They will work with each state individually.

Will FMCSA issue additional clarification on what constitutes “essential products?”
The focus is on replenishing grocery store shelves. That can include mixed item loads. They will allow and permit trailers that have emergency goods to make deliveries, even if they have some non-emergency supplies included on the trailer.

I have heard that Governor Evers issued a weight increase proclamation for carriers transporting food, medical medical supplies, cleaning products, and other household goods in providing relief from the emergency. Is that true?
Yes, Governor Evers has issued such an order. Permits for the transport of inventory to supply grocery retailers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic will now be issued by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. The permits expire on March 28.

COVID-19 Relief Effort Supply Permits will allow for additional supplies to be moved across Wisconsin interstates, most highways and local roadways by increasing weight limits and waiving truck driver hours of service limitations. Overweight permits may be issued by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and fees shall be waived for the transportation of inventory to supply grocery retailers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic on Wisconsin highways, according to the statement. The permits do not apply to class II highways, posted bridges, and local highways with special and seasonal weight limit postings. 

Permits issued by WisDOT authorize the operation of any vehicle combination at a maximum gross weight up to of 88,000 pounds. Interstate and intrastate carriers providing direct emergency relief to supply grocery retailers are relieved from the requirements contained in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

The permits authorize the wavier of fees required to obtain a 72-hour trip permit for vehicles travelling into Wisconsin that are not registered in Wisconsin nor enrolled in the International Registration Plan (IRP) or the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA).

All other applicable state and federal laws remain in full force and effect. The Secretary of the Department of Transportation may suspend, alter, or amend the permit as necessary, according to the statement.

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