FMCSA Announces Hours-of-Service Exemption for Emergency Relief and Direct Assistance Transport

Posted: Mar, 17th 2020

As part of its COVID-19/Coronavirus response, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced a granting of regulatory relief from the Hours of Service (HOS) requirements for commercial motor vehicle carriers providing direct assistance in support of transport of emergency relief supplies, including community safety and emergency restocking items, as well as medical equipment and testing supplies.

 The Declaration mandates that in order to meet criteria for direct assistance, the shipment must consist of the following:

  • medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis, and treatment 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 for emergency restocking of stores
  • equipment, supplies, and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine, and isolation facilities related to COVID-19
  • persons designated by Federal, State, or local authorities for medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes
  • persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services, the supply of which may be affected by the COVID-19 response.

Shipments of all other items, including mixed loads that may contain some of the items listed above, are NOT exempt from the granting of regulatory relief. This Declaration applies to drivers while they are delivering shipments described above, as well as the time they are returning empty from a delivery of the items described above, to their normal terminal or work reporting location.

Motor carriers should be aware that this notice does not absolve them of their duty to monitor their drivers. In addition, this granting of relief is not an exemption from driver’s CDL requirements; controlled substance and alcohol use and testing requirements, hazmat, size, and weight requirements; or financial responsibility (insurance) requirements.

This Declaration and emergency granting of relief is in effect until 11:59pm, Sunday, April 12,2020. Inquiries to the FMCSA regarding this Declaration can be made to this toll-free number: (877) 831-2250.


For our clients with Omnitracs ELD Devices:

With regard to the HOS impact on our applications, Omnitracs-hosted and mobile units will continue tracking HOS and any associated potential violations. No code changes or updates will be needed. If a driver is carrying a load that meets requirements, violation warnings, countdowns, and flags will still be in place. We highly recommend back-office teams document the drivers falling under the exemption to ensure operational efficiency.


We ask that you continue to monitor the FMCSA’s list of emergency declarations, waivers, exemptions, and permits to ensure continued compliance and cooperation with the federal government and consumer needs. Please feel free to reach out to our experts at ITI ( should you have any questions or concerns.


For our clients with other ELD applications, please contact your provider as to how to document using the exemption on your system.