Regulatory Update – March 20, 2020

National Emergency Declaration

FMCSA Issues National Emergency Declaration Waiving Title 49 CFR 390-399 for Emergency Response
On March 13, 2020, President Trump declared a national emergency in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Following the President’s announcement, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a national emergency declaration that suspends Title 49 code of federal regulations (CFR) 390-399, including HOS regulations, for carriers providing direct assistance to emergency relief efforts. On March 18, 2020, FMCSA expanded the declaration by including additional categories of cargo that are considered to be in direct response to the emergency. FMCSA has also published frequently asked questions about the emergency declaration. The expanded exemption is effective March 18, 2020-April 12, 2020.

Update on Relevant U.S. Regulations

FMCSA Announces Medical Review Board Public Meeting
On March 17, 2020, FMCSA announced that the Medical Review Board will hold a public meeting April 27-28 at the U.S. Department of Transportation headquarters in Washington, D.C. At the meeting, the board will review its recommendations on revising the FMCSA Medical Examiners Handbook and consider changes to the seizure medical standards.

PHMSA Publishes Updates on Special Permits
On March 10, 2020, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published updates on special permit applications:

Update on Exemptions

FMCSA Requests Comments on SBTC HOS and ELD Exemption Request
On March 11, 2020, FMCSA published a notice and request for comments on an application from the Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC) for exemption from certain hours-of-service (HOS) and electronic logging device (ELD) requirements. SBTC requests that drivers that have companion animals in their vehicle be exempt from the requirement to have an ELD and be permitted to drive for 13 hours in a 16-hour on-duty period. Comments are due by April 10.

CVSA Active Exemption Tracker
CVSA maintains a list of active exemptions issued by FMCSA. Members can access the information by logging into their CVSA member portal and clicking on the “Exemptions” tab at the top of the page.

CVSA Letters, Petitions and Comments to Rulemakings

CVSA Submits Comments on Large Truck Crash Causal Factors RFI
On March 16, 2020, CVSA submitted comments to FMCSA’s request for information (RFI) on a large truck crash causal factors study. CVSA commented on how to best design and conduct a study to identify factors contributing to reportable large truck crashes.