FMCSA Extends National Waiver for HOS, Medical Exams, Medical Certificates & Renewal of CDL Licenses
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is extending a number of expiring nationwide regulatory waivers authorized under the March 13, 2020 presidential declaration of national emergency and the January 31, 2020 public health emergency issued in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Several of the extended regulatory waivers are beneficial to energy marketers and the drivers they employ.
The FMCSA is extending waivers for hours of service (HOS), Commercial Driver License (CDL) renewal, Commercial Learners Permit (CLP) renewal, driver medical exams, medical certificates and medical variances through February 28, 2022.
Hours of Service Waiver
The FMCSA’s Emergency Declaration 2020-002 supporting the nationwide HOS waiver became effective in March of 2020 and has been extended with modifications throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
EMA worked closely to the FMCSA to ensure that petroleum products remained a covered product deemed essential for COVID-19 emergency relief.
Gasoline, Diesel Fuel and Jet Fuel
Drivers hauling gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel and ethyl alcohol qualify for the HOS waiver until the current waiver expires on February 28, 2022 or is modified or terminated by the FMCSA.
Heating Oil and Propane
The waiver extension does not include heating oil or propane, despite EMA’s efforts to have those products deemed essential.
FMCSA said it did not include propane and heating oil in the latest extension at the request of Northeast governors because these products are not in short supply.
Instead, the governors assured FMCSA they would issue HOS waivers based upon the individual needs of their respective states.
Although not named specifically, heating oil and propane are covered under the waiver if they are used for direct assistance to COVID-19 related facilities such as for power-generation or space heating for temporary vaccine and testing sites, nursing homes, medical laboratories, hospitals, temporary treatment centers, etc.
Preventing these facilities from running out of heating oil or propane is considered one example of providing direct assistance to COVID-19 relief efforts, according to the FMCSA.
The agency said it will continue to monitor heating oil and propane supplies for shortages and issue separate HOS waivers, as necessary.
Emergency Declaration Restrictions & Conditions
Motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance to the national emergency are granted emergency relief from 49 CFR § 395.3, maximum driving time for property-carrying vehicles (HOS), subject to the following restrictions and conditions:
— FMCSA Emergency Declaration 2020-002 only waives the hours-of-service regulations under 40 CFR 395.3.
— Motor carriers operating under the waiver must report to the FMCSA within 5 days after the end of each month. To report, motor carriers must access their portal account, log-in with their FMCSA portal credentials, and access the Emergency Declaration Reporting under the Available FMCSA Systems section of the page.
— Motor carriers or drivers currently subject to an out-of-service order are not eligible for HOS relief under the waiver.
— When direct assistance emergency relief efforts related to COVID-19 is terminated, both motor carriers and drivers are subject to the HOS requirements. However, a driver may return empty to the motor carrier’s terminal or the driver’s normal work reporting location without complying with HOS regulations.
— When a driver is moving from emergency relief efforts to normal operations, a 10-hour break is required when the total time a driver operates conducting emergency relief efforts or a combination of emergency relief and normal operations equals 14 hours.
CDL License & Permit Renewal, Driver Medical Exams & Medical Certificate Waiver
The FMCSA is extending through February 28, 2022 the regulatory waiver that permits, but not requires States to:
— Extend the validity of CDLs (due for renewal on or after March 1, 2020) beyond the eight-year maximum period of validity under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (MCSRs).
— Extend the validity of CLPs (due for renewal on or after March 1, 2020) beyond the one-year maximum period of validity required under the FMCSRs without requiring CLP holders to retake the general and endorsement knowledge tests.
— Allow CLP holders to take the CDL skills test without waiting 14 days after issuance of the CLP.
The FMCSA is extending through February 28, 2022 the requirement that CDL holders, CLP holders, have a medical exam and medical certificate, provided they have a valid medical certificate or medical variance issued for a period of 90 days or longer and expired on or after September 1, 2021.
EMA Contact: Mark S. Morgan, Regulatory Counsel email@example.com.