FMCSA wants to hear from carriers on COVID declaration use

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Trucking news and briefs for Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022:

FMCSA seeks feedback on carriers’ use of COVID hours waiver

With the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration last week extending the long-standing COVID-19 hours of service emergency declaration until Oct. 15, the agency is now seeking feedback concerning the extent to which carriers currently rely on the declaration to deliver certain commodities and whether there has been any impact on safety.

Comments are being accepted here through Sept. 21.

As reported, the waiver is limited in scope and only applies to carriers 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, diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), jet fuel, ethyl alcohol, and heating fuel including propane, natural gas, and heating oil 

Since the September 2021 extension of the declaration, FMCSA has requested that carriers self-report usage of the waiver, including the number of trips conducted under the declaration and the commodities hauled. An FMCSA review of carriers’ self-reported information found that the primary categories of commodities transported under the declaration are: food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distributions centers or stores; and livestock and livestock feed.

FMCSA added that it has seen an almost 50% decrease in usage of the declaration with loads 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.

The agency is asking for public comment on the usage of the declaration for the covered products. Specifically, FCMSA asks if the usage is fit for the intended purpose of the limited relief. 

TCA opens Best Fleets to Drive For nomination period

The Truckload Carriers Association and CarriersEdge have recognized top performing fleets through their annual Best Fleets to Drive For contest for the last 14 years, and the program is now returning for its 15th year.

As of Tuesday, Sept. 6, truck drivers, including owner-operators, can formally nominate the company they work for as a Best Fleet to Drive For until Oct. 31.  

Fleets operating 10 or more trucks in the U.S. or Canada are eligible for nomination. A TCA membership is not required to participate.

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By nominating a fleet, a truck driver is formally recognizing their company’s culture, programs, and working environment. If the carrier chooses to participate, senior management will take part in a questionnaire and interview, while a selection of drivers will participate in surveys, all of which dig deeper into the company’s policies and practices. 

At the end of the evaluation process, the top 20 highest scoring fleets will be identified as Best Fleets to Drive For and announced at the end of January 2023. From this pool, companies will be divided into "small" and "large" carrier categories, and two overall winners will be then recognized alongside fleets who will be entering the program’s Hall of Fame at the TCA Annual Convention, March 4-7, 2023, in Kissimmee, Florida.

“The program evolves every season to match what is happening in the industry,” said Jane Jazrawy, CEO of CarriersEdge. “Over the past two years, we watched carriers work hard to meet the unprecedented challenges that arose during COVID. Now, we are excited to see what new ideas fleets have come up with to transition from the pandemic and meet the challenges of a fluctuating economy.”  

Challenger Motor Freight and Garner Trucking were named the large fleet and small fleet category winners of the 2022 Best Fleets to Drive For program.