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Conference Call with FMCSA Stakeholders

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Remarks As Prepared for Delivery by
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao
Conference Call with FMCSA Stakeholders
Wednesday, March 25, 2020


Thank you, Acting Administrator Mullen.

And let me commend Acting Administrator Jim Mullen and his team for the great job they are doing in keeping the lines of communication open.

Good afternoon everyone!

First, let me thank all of you—and especially America’s truck drivers-- for your heroic action during this difficult time.  I know it hasn’t been easy!  But the whole country is cheering on America’s truckers and motor carrier drivers, as they work tirelessly to keep our country’s supply chains strong and our economy moving.

So please pass along my sincere thanks to your staff- and especially the drivers on the frontlines- who are working to deliver food, medical supplies, cleaning products, paper goods and other critical supplies to communities throughout our country.  You are true heroes!

Let me assure you that the Department is open for business, and that we are here for you.  Safety is always the top priority of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Department is well-versed in how to prepare for and respond to challenging situations.   

A week and a half ago, the Federal Motor Carrier Administration issued an Emergency Declaration to provide hours-of-service regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers transporting emergency relief in response to the nationwide coronavirus outbreak. 

Last week, The Department expanded that declaration to include haulers of additional essential items, including fuel and other raw materials. 

In addition, FMCSA has granted exceptions for certain expired commercial driver licenses, learner permits and medical certifications through June 30. 

And we have heard from many people about their concerns that some states may close rest areas in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus.  So I’ve asked Acting Administrator Mullen to reach out and work with state Departments of Transportation and others to keep these critical infrastructures open, so that motor carrier drivers have a safe place to rest.

Let me stress how important it is that we hear from you. The Department is a key part of the President’s Coronavirus Task Force.  Every day, we feed the critical information we get from you and other stakeholders into the Task Force, so they can get a complete picture of how Covid-19 is impacting our country and craft policies to address it.

So if you have concerns and issues that need to be addressed, we want to hear from you.

So again, thank you for everything you are doing for our country, and now let me turn it back over to Acting Administrator Jim Mullen to discuss some recent developments in more detail.