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COVID-19: Are DOT Regulations Still in Effect?
4 mins read

Although the FMCSA has acknowledged that there may be some challenges in staying compliant, carriers and drivers are expected to continue meeting all of their testing requirements.

In the past few months, all of our lives have been turned upside down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the trucking industry, many of you have seem volume spikes as consumer demand for food, toiletries and medical products skyrocketed. But for many others, volume has fallen off dramatically – and brought once busy businesses to a grinding halt.

Stay Up-to-Date in Our New COVID-19 Resources Center

In all cases, the COVID crisis has brought a great deal of stress – and questions – to the trucking industry. One question that we’re getting repeatedly at Foley, is whether DOT regulations still need to be followed during this time.

While the news has been changing day to day, here is what we know so far:

#1: With very few exceptions, all DOT compliance requirements are still in effect

This means that drivers still need to be sent for random drug tests, driver qualification files must be maintained and MVRs must be run annually on all drivers. In other words, you should continue maintaining all of your current compliance programs as you did before the COVID pandemic unless you’re specifically told by the FMCSA that the regulation has been suspended.

This includes all DOT drug and alcohol testing requirements. Although the FMCSA has acknowledged that there may be some challenges in staying compliant, carriers and drivers are expected to continue meeting all of their testing requirements.

#2: A waiver has been issued for expired CDLs and medical cards

With most physicians canceling non-urgent appointments, and local DMV branches closed, the FMCSA is giving drivers up to an extra three months to renew expired CDLs and medical cards. The new deadline for any CDL or medical card that expired on or after March 1, 2020, is June 30, 2020.

Drivers should continue operating with the expired documents on hand. If they are pulled over, the CDL or medical card will be considered valid as long as it didn’t expire before March 1, 2020.

#3: An hours of service exemption is in place for COVID recovery drivers

An hours of service exemption is in place through May 15  for recovery relief only. That means that you and your drivers must be delivering goods that are listed on the emergency declaration. This includes:

  1.  Food, paper products and other grocery items needed to restock distribution centers and stores
  2. Medical supplies and equipment needed for COVID-19 testing, diagnosis and treatment
  3. Community sanitation and safety equipment such as hand sanitizer, masks, disinfectants and gloves
  4. Fuel
  5. Raw materials needed to create any of the items in the second and third bullets above

You can find a full list of covered items and people here: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/emergency/expanded-emergency-declaration-under-49-cfr-ss-39023-no-2020-002-relating-covid-19

We’ll continue to keep you updated on compliance changes or updates as they are released. For the most up to date COVID information, visit our COVID Resources Center. 

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