HARTFORD, Conn. — At the request of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut (MTAC), the State of Connecticut has issued an Hours of Service (HOS) waiver for truck drivers. The waiver was requested in order to allow the trucking industry to respond to critical needs during the public health emergency caused by the spread of the novel (new) coronavirus (COVID-19).
As a result of actions relating to the coronavirus spread, there is a shortage of food at many grocery stores and other large retailers. Similar situations may present themselves regarding medicine at pharmacies or hospitals. This HOS waiver will give the trucking industry flexibility to deliver necessary supplies to these locations.
The HOS waiver applies to “direct assistance” in response to the emergency. “Direct assistance” means transportation and other relief services provided by a motor carrier or its drivers incident to the immediate restoration of essential services — such as electricity, medical care, sewer, water, telecommunications and telecommunication transmissions — or essential supplies such as food and fuel.
The waiver does not include transportation related to long-term rehabilitation of damaged physical infrastructure or routine commercial deliveries after the initial threat to life and property has passed.
Carries should take not of guidance on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) website regarding emergency declarations. In part, it states, “Drivers responding to provide ‘direct assistance’ to an ‘emergency’ meeting the definitions in 49 CFR 390.5 and declared by FMCSA or a governor, are exempt from applicable regulations in all states on their route to the emergency, even though those states may not be involved in the emergency or stated in the declaration of emergency.”
A PDF copy of the declaration granting Connecticut’s HOS waiver can be found at mtac.us/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/mtac-ct-covid19-hos-waiver.pdf.