Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Summary of Changes to the Guidance:

Below are changes as of March 21, 2020

  • Updated cleaning and disinfection guidance
  • Updated best practices for conducting social distancing
  • Updated strategies and recommendations that can be implemented now to respond to COVID-19
CDC Statement on Self-Quarantine Guidance for Greater New York City Transportation and Delivery Workers

When we issued the self-quarantining guidance for greater New York City residents leaving this area, it was out of an abundance of caution to help protect U.S. areas with lower levels of COVID-19 spread. In line with our recommendations for other essential critical infrastructure workers, this guidance does not apply to critical transportation and delivery workers who are desperately needed for New York residents to continue their daily lives and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Truck drivers and other people driving into the city to deliver needed supplies should stay in their vehicles as much as possible as supplies are loaded and unloaded, avoid being within 6 feet of others as much as possible when they exit their vehicles, and move to electronic receipts if possible. If these drivers need to spend the night in the greater New York City area, they should stay in their hotel rooms or sleeper cab, when available, to the extent possible and continue to practice social distancing. Drivers who take these precautions should not need to self-quarantine when they leave the greater New York area, unless self-quarantine is recommended by state or local officials for all residents in the areas where they live.

FMCSA just released an additional round of Emergency Declaration Frequently Asked Questions, covering important questions such as the inclusion of feed under the exemption and other products. 

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/emergency/expanded-emergency-declaration-under-49-cfr-ss-39023-no-2020-002-relating-covid-19

Frequently Asked Questions Related to the FMCSA Emergency Declaration Part 2: 03/25/2020

Note: This guidance document does not have the force and effect of law and is not meant to bind the public in any way. This guidance is intended only to provide clarity regarding existing requirements under the law.

Is wood pulp covered under the expanded emergency declaration?

Wood pulp is covered if it is being used as a precursor to one of the essential items listed in the exemption as follows: (1) medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19; (2) 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 or (3) food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores;

Are the raw materials used to manufacture bleach, disinfectants, hand sanitizers and similar items covered under the expanded emergency declaration?

Yes, these items and their precursors are covered as “supplies necessary for community safety, sanitation and community prevention of. . .COVID 19.”

Does the Declaration cover packaging for food — for example, produce containers?

Yes, packaging is covered as a precursor necessary to the production and transportation of products covered under the emergency exemption.

Are feed and fertilizer covered under the emergency declaration?

Yes, both are covered as precursors to essential items.

Is pet food covered under the emergency declaration?

No, pet food is not covered.

The emergency declaration states that after completed work under the declaration and returning to normal operations, a commercial vehicle driver must take 10 hours off. What if there is nowhere at the location for the driver to park?

The driver may proceed to the nearest reasonable, safe location to obtain the required 10 hours of rest.

Is the time spent driving to pick up a truck regulated as on duty time?

No. Time spent travelling to work in a personal vehicle does not meet the definition of on duty time in 49 CFR 395.2.

 

A few have requested a template of a letter/notice for drivers to carry in their cabs that spells out “Truck Drivers have been designated as essential critical infrastructure workers by the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency”.

Be advised, the use of this or any other similar type letter is NOT required anywhere, but it may come in handy for a driver especially when dealing with law enforcement personnel not overly familiar with industry practices and trying to enforce something like a local “shelter-in-place” declaration. Again, this is not required by any jurisdiction and it is not a “Get of jail free” type card either.

Feel free to use but be sure to emphasize that this is just an explanation of the industry’s status under the CISA guidance. Keep in mind also, the CISA Guidance is not law so, as best they can, companies and drivers need to work together to keep their drivers aware of the rules, regulations, declarations of jurisdictions in which the vehicle will be traveling. 

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Two very important documents were completed last night relating to CDLs and Medical Cards as well as a PHMSA notice relating to HM Training. Please see below for description and links. The documents are also attached for easy reference.  

 

Enforcement Notice on Expiring CDLs 

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/emergency/enforcement-notice-expiring-cdls-32420

This Notice of Enforcement Policy, effective from March 24, 2020 to June 30, 2020, provides needed relief from specified FMCSRs for CLP holders, CDL holders, and non-CDL drivers and motor carriers using those drivers. This Notice of Enforcement Policy applies to all CLP holders, CDL holders, and non-CDL drivers whose license was issued for less than the maximum period established by 49 CFR 383.25 and 383.73 and was valid on February 29, 2020 and expired on or after March 1, 2020.

 

Waiver for States, CDL Holders, CLP Holders, and Interstate Drivers Operating Commercial Motor Vehicles

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/emergency/fmcsa-cdl-waiver-32420

 

The waiver is effective until June 30, 2020 and provides important relief resulting from situations where many CDL and CLP holders are unable to renew their CDLs and CLPs and are unable to provide medical certificates to their State Driver Licensing Agencies. In addition, many medical providers nationwide have canceled regularly scheduled appointments to dedicate resources to the COVID-19 response. As a result, drivers are unable to obtain appointments for physical examinations with medical examiners.

 

PHMSA Notice of Enforcement Policy Relating to HM Training

https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/news/phmsa-enforcement-policy-notice-regarding-hazardous-materials-training

PHMSA has provided there will not take enforcement action taken against any HM employer and/or HM employee unable to provide the required “recurrent training” during the Covid-19 pandemic. This policy was coordinated across the Department and applies to FMCSA and all modes. It does not apply to initial training, or the need to have a new HM employee work under the supervision of a trained HM employee until they can get their initial training. 

 

Emergency Declarations Page

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/emergency/expanded-emergency-declaration-under-49-cfr-ss-39023-no-2020-002-relating-covid-19

March 23, 2020
This guidance document provides clarity to DOT-regulated employers, employees, and service
agents on conducting DOT drug-and-alcohol testing given concerns about the Coronavirus
Disease 2019 (COVID-19). We, as a Nation, are facing an unprecedented public health
emergency that is straining medical resources and altering aspects of American life, including the
workplace. The Nation’s transportation industries, which are not immune to the impacts and
disruptions resulting from the spread of COVID-19 in the United States, are playing a vital role
in mitigating the effects of COVID-19.
DOT is committed to maintaining public safety while providing maximum flexibility to allow
transportation industries to conduct their operations safely and efficiently during this period of
national emergency.
The below guidance on compliance with the DOT and modal drug and alcohol testing programs
apply during this period of national emergency.

DOT_Guidance_on_Compliance_with_Drug_and_Alcohol_Testing_Regulations

For HME applicants, while there is no impact to TSA adjudications, issuance of a HME on a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) will vary by State. Some driver’s’ license agencies are closing, require an appointment, or are reducing hours of operations. HME applicants should check with their state for potential impacts.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) values the health and wellness of its staff, service providers, stakeholders and the public. TSA is monitoring and following the updates provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19), and it is following the CDC’s recommendations. For updated information, please visit: https://www.tsa.gov/coronavirus.

TSA’s enrollment network services multiple programs to include the Transportation Worker
Identification Credential (TWIC), the Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HME) and TSA
PreCheckTM. TSA is working with its enrollment provider to continue to deliver essential
services to the public in a safe operating environment.

TSA COVID-19 FAQs (March 20 2020)

Drivers face the enormous challenge of delivering essential goods in these unsettling times, while also wondering how they can be evaluated and tested for coronavirus.

UrgentCareTravel, the medical clinic network located at Pilot and Flying J Travel Centers, is here to help.

UrgentCareTravel will be launching a telemedicine-based Driver Coronavirus Evaluation Service:

UrgentCareTravel Coronavirus Prevention-Symptoms-Clinic Locations