J. J. Keller® Compliance Network Logo
Start Customizing Your Profile for Free!
Update to Professional Trial!

Experience Everything Compliance Network Has to Offer

Already have an account?
Thank you for investing in EnvironmentalHazmat related content. Click 'UPGRADE' to continue.
Enjoy your limited-time access to the Compliance Network Professional Trial!
A confirmation welcome email has been sent to your email address from ComplianceNetwork@t.jjkellercompliancenetwork.com. Please check your spam/junk folder if you can't find it in your inbox.
Thank you for your interest in EnvironmentalHazmat related content.
You've reached your limit of free access, if you'd like more info, please contact us at 800-327-6868.

The new COVID-19 exemption comes with new strings attached


On August 31, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) extended the emergency declaration related to COVID-19 until November 30. However, this declaration is quite different from previous versions.

Limited scope

Under this declaration, rather than being exempt from most of the general safety regulations in 49 CFR Parts 390 to 399, a carrier is only exempt from 395.3. This is the regulation that limits the driver’s hours of service. All other regulations apply. Among other things, this means that when a driver is using the exemption created by this declaration:

  • You cannot allow any part of a driver’s qualification file to lapse;
  • Your driver must be using the type of record of duty status required for the driver (ELD, paper log, or time record); and
  • Your vehicles must meet the mechanical and annual inspection requirements.

Situations covered

The exemption can be used only if the driver is providing essential services or transporting essential supplies related to the COVID-19 emergency, including:

  • Livestock and livestock feed;
  • Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19;
  • Vaccines, constituent products, and medical supplies related to the prevention 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);
  • Food, paper products, and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores;
  • Gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and ethyl alcohol; and
  • Supplies to assist individuals impacted by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., building materials for individuals displaced or otherwise impacted as a result of the emergency).


If a driver using the emergency exemption is involved in a crash, the company must report the crash to the state FMCSA office in the state in which the carrier is based within 24 hours. Also, carriers must report their use of the exemption within five days after the end of each month.

To file the report, carriers need to access their FMCSA portal account, log in with their credentials, and access Emergency Declaration Reporting under the Available FMCSA Systems section of the page.

Key to remember

The most recent COVID-19 emergency declaration (and related exemptions) is not the same as the previous ones. This one is limited in scope and comes with new requirements. If you are going to try to use it, make sure you know the details!