Safety Corner

FMCSA Extends Emergency Declaration for COVID-19

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has announced an Extension of the Expanded Modified Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 Under 49 CFR § 390.25.

This extension continues to provide regulatory relief to motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance in support of relief efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  This extension is currently planned to expire through August 31, 2021.

The relief granted is from the driver hours of service regulations and all of 49 CFR Parts 390-399, with specific limitations as described in the extension. 

Please note that direct assistance refers to transportation and other associated relief provided by a motor carrier and/or drivers to restoring essential services or supplies related to COVID-19.

  1. The Emergency Declaration is specifically limited to the transportation of:
  2. livestock and livestock feed;
  3. medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19;
  4. vaccines, constituent products, and medical supplies and equipment including ancillary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines, related to the prevention of COVID-19;
  5. 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
  6. food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.

Direct assistance does not include non-emergency transportation of qualifying commodities or routine commercial deliveries, including mixed loads with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief added to obtain the benefits of this emergency declaration. 

To be eligible for the exemption, the transportation must be both of qualifying commodities and incident to the immediate restoration of those essential supplies.

The FMCSA has also issued a Waiver in response to the COVID-19 that permits but not require States to extend the validity of Commercial Driver Licenses (CDL) and Commercial Learners Permits (CLP) that were scheduled to expire on or after March 1, 2020.  States now have the authority to extend the validity of CDLs and CLPs through August 31, 2021.

The extension does not apply if driver’s privileges are suspended or withdrawn for traffic offenses, or if the driver is otherwise disqualified to operate a CMV. 

Driver must also have a valid Medical Certificate in order to use the CDL/CLP waiver.

A motor carrier must also notify the FMCSA within 5 business days of any accident as defined in 49 CFR 390.5 operating under the terms of this Waiver. Specifically an accident means an occurrence involving a commercial motor vehicle operating on a highway in interstate or intrastate commerce which results in:

  • A fatality;
  • Bodily injury to a person who, as a result of the injury, immediately receives medical treatment away from the scene of the accident; or
  • One or more motor vehicles incurring disabling damage as a result of the accident, requiring the motor vehicle(s) to be transported away from the scene by a tow truck or other motor vehicle.


The notification must include the following information:

  1.  Date of the accident;
  2. City or town, and State in which the accident occurred, or closest to the accident scene;
  3. Driver’s name and license number;
  4. Vehicle number and State license number;
  5. Number of individuals suffering physical injury;
  6. Number of fatalities;
  7. The police-reported cause of the accident (if available at time of the report); and
  8. Whether the driver was cited for violation of any traffic laws, or motor carrier safety regulations.


Finally, the FMCSA Waiver for States, CDL Holders, CLP Holders, and Interstate Drivers Operating Commercial Motor Vehicles is automatically extended through to August 31, 2021.  in order to comply with the Waiver extension, the certificate or variance must have been issued to a driver for a period of 90 days or longer, and expired on or after March 1, 2021.  

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