In response to the nationwide COVID-19 outbreak, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued an emergency declaration on March 13, 2020, increasing the hours commercial vehicle drivers can be on the road without taking a break and providing certain other relief for these drivers transporting emergency relief items. The emergency declaration was expanded on April 8, 2020, and will remain in effect at least through May 15, 2020.
The FMCSA is an agency of the federal government responsible for regulating and providing oversight of commercial motor vehicles in order to reduce injuries, crashes, and deaths involving large trucks and buses. These vehicles typically exceed 10,000 pounds.
Under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (Regulations), a commercial motor vehicle driver is only allowed to drive a total of 11 hours during a period of 14 consecutive hours and cannot drive after the end of the 14 consecutive hour period without first taking 10 consecutive hours off. These restrictions are in place to enhance the safety of the driver and other motorists on the road by making sure drivers are getting adequate rest before operating these large vehicles. Fatigue is a major factor linked to commercial vehicle accidents. Fatigued drivers are increasingly likely to suffer a loss of attentiveness, slower reaction times, impaired judgment, and a likelihood of falling asleep.