Truck drivers provide safe and timely movement of vital products and supplies, doing a difficult, lonely job that too often goes unrecognized and underappreciated. Many are single owner operator businesses, something that has its own set of unique challenges.
The women and men who drive America’s truck are also front and center in battling COVID-19. On March 13, 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued an unprecedented emergency declaration, relaxing restrictions on truck drivers who make essential deliveries during the emergency. The declaration exempts certain drivers and deliveries and the restrictions on drivers’ hours of service, required parts and accessories needed for safe operation as well as longer combination vehicles.
These exemptions apply to truck drivers involved in direct COVID-19 assistance efforts, including hauling and delivering medical supplies, testing equipment, masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, food and personnel. On March 18, 2020, FMCSA broadening the scope of “direct assistance” to include other materials, such as raw items like fuel and paper products. Drivers are still required to receive a minimum of 10 hours off if transporting goods, and eight hours off if transporting personnel.
Thanks to my friends and colleagues at Weber Gallagher for disseminating information about the COVID-19 emergency declaration to insurance adjusters, attorneys and other professionals who support the trucking industry.