The federal government has updated its extensions of a number of COVID-related waivers. Many of these affect GAWDA member companies and their commercial motor vehicle drivers.
- Emergency Declaration. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has further extended its emergency declaration through December 31, 2020; this exempts drivers and carriers from the hours of service regulations and all of 49 CFR Parts 390-399 when transporting certain emergency relief products in response to COVID-19 crisis. The exemption applies to transporting: medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19; supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants; and food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores. But the exemption does not include routine commercial deliveries, or mixed loads with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief added to obtain the benefits of this emergency declaration.
- CDL/CLP Validity. The FMCSA has extended a waiver on the validity of Commercial Driver Licenses and Commercial Learner’s Permits that would have expired on or after March 1, 2020. The waiver is now in effect through December 31, 2020. The driver does not have to do anything to take advantage of the extension. The waiver does not apply if the driver loses driving privileges due to a traffic violation, however.
- Medical Certificate Validity. The FMCSA has extended its waiver on the validity of medical certificates that expired on or after March 1, 2020 but before June 1, 2020. Those medical certificates are now valid through October 31, 2020. Medical certificates that expire on or after June 1, 2020 are valid through December 31, 2020. To be valid, the initial medical certificate must have been issued for 90 days or longer. The exemption also does not apply if driver is diagnosed with a disqualifying medical condition or one that requires an exemption or skills test, or to a driver with a medical card issued for less than 90 days. The driver must carry a copy of the expired medical card in the vehicle.
- Hazardous Materials Endorsement Extension. The Transportation Security Administration has extended the exemption from renewal of the HME Security Threat Assessment for CDL drivers whose HME was scheduled to expire on July 31, 2020. The exemption now runs through October 29, 2020. Under this exemption, states may extend the expiration date of HMEs that expire on or after March 1, 2020, for 180 days. If a state grants an extension, the driver with an expired HME must initiate the process of renewing his or her security threat assessment for the HME no later than 60 days before the end of the state-granted extension.
- Cylinder Retest Exemption. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has issued a notice of “enforcement discretion” stating that the agency will not take any action against a company whose cylinders or other hazmat packagings that are not more than 90 days beyond their periodic retest dates. This exemption expires October 31, 2020, however, and PHMSA has said it will not extend this exemption any further. After October 31, 2020, all cylinders must be in test before they are filled.