FMCSA extends COVID-related hours of service, CDL declarations

Ccj Logo White

Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, March 1, 2022:

FMCSA extends COVID-related waivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is once again extending the COVID-19 emergency declaration that exempts haulers of certain commodities from maximum driving time limits in the federal hours of service regulations. The agency also extended a waiver giving certain drivers more time to renew their CDLs and medical certificates.

The hours of service waiver is now effective through May 31, while the CDL/med cert waiver is effective through April 15. FMCSA says it does not expect to extend the CDL/med cert waiver again beyond April 15.

There are no changes to the hours of service waiver since the last extension issued on Nov. 30. It only applies to drivers hauling the following commodities:

  • Livestock and livestock feed
  • Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19
  • Vaccines, constituent products and medical supplies and equipment including ancillary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines, related to the prevention 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
  • Gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and ethyl alcohol
  • Supplies to assist individuals impacted by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., building materials for individuals displaced or otherwise impacted as a result of the emergency)

Direct assistance does not include non-emergency transportation of qualifying commodities or routine commercial deliveries, including mixed loads with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief added to obtain the benefits of this emergency declaration. To be eligible for the exemption, the transportation must be both of qualifying commodities and related to the immediate restoration of those essential supplies. FMCSA recently offered an interpretation that included transportation of new automobiles and components, parts and supplies necessary for new vehicle production in the variety of "supplies" noted in the final item in the list above. 

Carriers who operate under the terms of the declaration are required to report their use of it to FMCSA within five days of the end of each month via their FMCSA portal account.

Additionally, FMCSA is giving all commercial learner’s permit holders, CDL holders and non-CDL commercial drivers whose licenses were valid on February 29, 2020, and expired on or after March 1, 2020, and whose medical certification or medical variance expired on or after December 1, 2021, 45 days to renew their licenses. Drivers meeting this criteria have until April 15 to renew their licenses and medical certificates.

The agency said it does not anticipate extending this waiver beyond April 15 and notes that it will review the status of this policy as of March 31 and may terminate the notice before April 15.

More than 4,000 Internationals recalled for backup lights issue

Navistar is recalling approximately 4,277 model year 2019 International LT and RH trucks because the LED backup lights are the incorrect color white, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

Due to being the wrong color, the lights on affected trucks don’t comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 108, "Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment."

Dealers will inspect and replace the LED backup lights as necessary, free of charge. Owners can contact Navistar customer service at 1-800-448-7825 with recall number 22503. NHTSA’s recall number is 22V-092.