US regulators extend exemptions for truckers hauling COVID-19-related freight

Hours of service exemptions for truckers carrying pandemic-related freight have been extended, a U.S. Transportation Department agency announced this week, citing the need to ensure capacity to respond to a potential rise in COVID-19 cases.

Under the exemption, regulatory relief will be provided to truck drivers providing "direct assistance" to aid "immediate restoration of essential services [such as medical care] or essential supplies related to COVID-19." 

Regulatory relief will be granted if the driver is transporting livestock and livestock feed; medical supplies and equipment for testing; vaccines and other products related to vaccines; personal protective equipment and other safety and sanitization products; food and paper products; fuel products; and building materials and other supplies to assist those affected by pandemic-related issues.

Direct assistance does not include nonemergency transportation of qualifying commodities or routine commercial deliveries, including mixed loads with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief, according to the Nov. 29  announcement from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which regulates the U.S. trucking industry.


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