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The latest general information on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is available on Coronavirus.gov. For USDOT specific COVID-19 resources, please visit our page.

How DOT is Helping Truckers Expedite Delivery of Groceries and Medical Supplies

Posted by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao

As we’ve seen when regional natural disasters strike, it’s America’s truck drivers who rush to bring in groceries to restock store shelves and lifesaving medical supplies to hospitals.  80 percent of American communities rely solely on trucks for the delivery of goods. 

The COVID-19 (coronavirus) is affecting our entire Nation.  It is vitally important that America’s commercial drivers be able to meet the current heightened demand around the country for transport services.  That’s why the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued a national emergency declaration to provide hours-of-service regulatory relief for those transporting emergency relief in response to COVID-19.  This allows drivers to work for longer stretches than currently permitted under ordinary circumstances. 

FMCSA notes this declaration is the first of its kind the agency has ever issued.  It applies to motor carriers transporting:

  • Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.
  • Supplies and equipment, including masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants, necessary for healthcare worker, patient and community safety, sanitation, and prevention of COVID-19 spread in communities.
  • Food for emergency restocking of grocery stores.
  • Equipment, supplies and workers necessary for establishment and management of temporary housing and quarantine facilities related to COVID-19.
  • Persons designated by Federal, State or local authorities for transport for medical, isolation or quarantine purposes, and personnel to provide medical or other emergency services. 

To ensure continued safety on the Nation’s roadways, the emergency declaration stipulates that once a driver has completed his or her delivery, the driver must receive a minimum of 10 hours off duty if transporting freight, and 8 hours if transporting passengers. 

FMCSA’s national emergency declaration can be viewed at this link: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/emergency/emergency-declaration-under-49-cfr-ss-39023-no-2020-002

The President has mobilized the entire government to do everything possible to help respond to the COVID-19 situation.  Our Nation’s truckers are on the front line of defense, and this emergency declaration is an important tool in keeping our country’s supply chains functioning and strong. 

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