The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on August 31 extended its COVID 19 Declaration of Emergency and amended it to include regulatory relief for commercial drivers, including those hauling gasoline, diesel and jet fuel in support of emergency relief related to COVID-19. The new Declaration of Emergency (initially announced in March 2020) is now extended to November 2021.
NATSO on Aug. 30 urged the Federal Motor Carrier Safety (FMCSA) to include fuel haulers in its COVID-19 emergency declaration to minimize the effect that the pandemic has on fuel supply and mitigate the driver shortage.
NATSO urged the agency to incorporate haulers of over-the-road transportation fuel into the nationwide COVID-19 Emergency Declaration as it would provide much-needed hours of service (HOS) flexibility that would mitigate supply disruptions and lower the prices at the pump.
The longstanding driver shortage is being exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, supply constraints and wildfires, leading some in the industry concerned about the ongoing ability to provide fuel, food and goods to the traveling public including professional truck drivers.
NATSO was joined in signing the letter by the National Association of Convenience Stores, Energy Marketers of America and SIGMA.
“Including fuel haulers in an extended COVID-19 emergency declaration will help minimize the impact that the pandemic has had on supply and mitigate the driver shortage’s impact on the trucking industry,” the groups said in the letter “Allowing drivers to occasionally work more hours will reduce the number of trucks and drivers it takes to move the same amount of fuel. Furthermore, the HOS waiver will prevent consumers from having to pay higher delivery fees as a result of the threat to consistent and fast delivery services because of the countrywide driver shortage.”
NATSO in May met with FMCSA to discuss a waiver to hours-of-service rules for fuel haulers on account of current challenges to hiring truck drivers. Allowing drivers to work more hours will reduce the number of trucks and drivers it takes to move the same amount of freight, while also preventing consumers from having to pay higher delivery fees as a result of the threat to consistent and fast delivery services.
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