FMCSA suspends HOS regulations across nation for those aiding COVID-19 relief

FMCSA suspends HOS regulations across nation for those aiding COVID-19 relief

WASHINGTON — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has officially granted relief from hours of service (HOS) regulations beginning Friday night for commercial vehicle drivers transporting commodities related to the response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

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The declaration specifically suspends Parts 390-399 of the Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations, in which HOS is Part 395. This is the first time the FMCSA has issued a nationwide relief, and the announcement follows President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency in response to the new coronavirus pandemic earlier in the day on Friday, March 13.

FMCSA’s declaration provides for regulatory relief for commercial motor-vehicle operations providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts intended to meet immediate needs for:

  • Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.
  • Supplies and equipment, including masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants, necessary for health care worker, patient and community safety, sanitation and prevention of COVID-19 spread in communities.
  • Equipment, supplies and food for emergency restocking of stores;
  • Persons necessary for establishment and management of temporary housing and quarantine facilities related to COVID-19;
  • Persons designated by federal, state or local authorities for transport for medical, isolation or quarantine purposes; and
  • Personnel to provide medical or other emergency services.

Even though the order lifts restrictions on how long a driver can be behind the wheel, it provides protection for drivers who might be coerced by their employer to drive when tired.

“However, if the driver informs the motor carrier that he or she needs immediate rest, the driver must be permitted at least 10 consecutive hours off duty before the driver is required to return to the motor carrier’s terminal or the driver’s normal reporting location,” the declaration reads. “Once the driver has returned to the terminal or other location, the driver must be relieved of all duty and responsibilities and must receive a minimum of 10 hours off duty if transporting property, and eight hours if transporting passengers.”

Prior to this declaration, some states, such as Connecticut and Ohio, had already issued waivers to suspend hours of service restrictions for intrastate truck drivers. Now, this suspension extends to drivers traveling across the nation.

This declaration is effective immediately and willremain in effect until the termination of the emergency or until 11:59 p.m. on April 12, 2020, whichever occurs sooner.

To read the full declaration, visit

Wendy Miller is the managing editor of The Trucker Newspaper and She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and a master's degree in strategic communications. Wendy has been a journalist and editor for 12 years and has specialized in niche publications for the past eight years. Wendy draws her love for the trucking industry from growing up as a trucker's daughter.
For over 30 years, the objective of The Trucker editorial team has been to produce content focused on truck drivers that is relevant, objective and engaging. After reading this article, feel free to leave a comment about this article or the topics covered in this article for the author or the other readers to enjoy. Let them know what you think! We always enjoy hearing from our readers.


The department of highway and safety need to be sued for making the roads unsafe, We the American people should bring it to them, all of driving need is for five hours in the sleep, The roads are not safe under the system the old system will kee the roads safe

This is pathetic how thwy can change the rules as they go. Especially on something that they will ruin someone’s livelihood and career for their own monetary gain. FMCSA needs to be sued by all of us to no ends for their communist rhetoric

The FMCSA really don’t have a clue about what actual rest means, who the fuck sleeps 8 hours? I personally have never slept 8 hours I’m not programmed to lay around that long.. Perhaps if im sick with a fever or maybe back when I was a toddler.. What a bunch of morons. The sublime of the ridiculous and stupid hours of service. Who came up with this shit?

Hey look a here! Some of these carriers are trying to play dumb with us drivers and tell us all of can run unlimited hours of we are hauling what they deem as emergency freight and the folks I’m currently working for are mad as hell because I went and looked up the truth.
Drivers watch your back of you work for a small carrier they are among the biggest liers.