The FMCSA is showing a united front with the White House’s emergency declaration regarding Coronavirus. The declaration will cease enforcement of some HOS rules and ease enforcement on others for truckers. FMCSA officials said that this marks the first time the organization has issued nationwide HOS relief. There are many first-time events happening during COVID-19 and these efforts are clearly necessary to keep food and critical supplies moving.
“Because of the decisive leadership of President Trump and Secretary Chao, this declaration will help America’s commercial drivers get these critical goods to impacted areas faster and more efficiently,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Jim Mullen in a statement. “FMCSA is continuing to closely monitor the coronavirus outbreak and stands ready to use its authority to protect the health and safety of the American people.”
FMCSA officials said that this declaration provides for regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts intended to meet immediate needs for:
- 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 stores
- Equipment, supplies and persons 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
- Personnel to provide medical or other emergency services.
Clearly, every accommodation must be considered for those on the front lines. Doctors, nurses, first responders and, yes, truckers. Truckers are the tip of the supply chain spear.
This is an unprecedented period with still-unknown impacts, making attempts to forecast future aggregate demand impossible. We can be reasonably confident about a couple of things:
- we should remain focused on the crisis' human element; and
- greater challenges still lie ahead. To that end, the cascading closures of events nationwide and globally in recent days will be essential in arresting the virus' outbreak. In the meantime, the acuteness of the economic impact could exceed anything we've experienced in our lifetimes, including the 2008-09 financial crisis.