The U.S. Department of Transportation provided more insight on Thursday regarding frequently asked questions related to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) emergency declaration.
FMCSA exempted livestock haulers from compliance with federal Hours of Service rules that limit drive time until at least April 12 due to the COVID-19 emergency relief effort.
The latest insight from DOT confirms that livestock are covered as a precursor to food. The emergency declaration covers “immediate precursor raw materials – such as paper, plastic or alcohol – that are required and to be used for the manufacture of items” including food needed for the emergency restocking of stores.
In addition, the emergency exemption includes relief from all the hours-of-service regulations in in 49 CFR, part 395, including the recordkeeping requirements.
If there is an electronic logging device (ELD) in the truck, drivers have three options, DOT explains.
1. Use the “authorized personal use” (personal conveyance) function of the ELD to record all of the time providing direct assistance under the exemption. Use of this function will result in the time being recorded as off duty and requires an annotation.
2. Use the ELD in its normal mode and annotate the ELD record to indicate they were driving under the emergency relief exemption
3. Turn off the ELD, in which case the carrier would address the unassigned miles in accordance with the current regulation.
Drivers wishing to haul under this exemption are suggested to print out and keep in their cab a copy of the Expanded Emergency Declaration and a copy of the FAQ document that clearly draws the connection between the emergency declaration and livestock hauling, advises the Livestock Market Association (LMA).
See the entire list of frequently asked questions.