Special Edition V.13 (March 2020)

In light of the many issues that motor carriers have had with linking their Portal Accounts with the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (DACH), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is announcing a newly created PORTAL RELATED DACH HELP LINE for motor carriers.

FMCSA emphasizes that the help line is only for calls related to the DACH connection with the PORTAL.
All other DACH questions should be referred to:  clearinghouse@dot.gov
Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act
March 25, 2020

The Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act would provide $350 billion to help prevent workers from losing their jobs and small businesses from going under due to economic losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Paycheck Protection Program would provide 8 weeks of cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to small employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If the employer maintains its payroll, the portion of the loans used for covered payroll costs, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utilities would be forgiven, which would help workers to remain employed and affected small businesses and our economy to recover quickly from this crisis. This proposal would be retroactive to February 15, 2020, to help bring workers who may have already been laid off back onto payrolls.

Clarification of applicability 

This article is intended to be a reminder of the parameters of the Expanded Emergency Declaration issued by FMCSA on March 18, 2020. The Declaration expires at 11:59 on April 12, 2020 or until the termination of the emergency, whichever occurs first.

The Declaration, issued in accordance with 49 CFR § 390.23 grants emergency relief from Parts 390 through 399 for motor carriers providing “direct assistance in support of relief efforts related to the COVID-19 outbreaks”. It is important for all motor carriers that are operating under the declaration to understand whether or not the Declaration applies to them based on direct assistance.

Direct assistance in support of the relief efforts related to COVID-19 outbreaks is defined in the Declaration:

“This Emergency Declaration provides regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicles operations providing direct assistance in support of emergency relief efforts related to the COVID-19 outbreaks, including transportation to meet immediate needs for: (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; (3) food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores; (4) immediate precursor raw materials---such as paper, plastic or alcohol---that are required and to be used for the manufacture of items in categories (1), (2), or (3); (5) fuel; (6) equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine, and isolation facilities related to COVID-19; (7) persons designated by Federal, State or local authorities for medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes; and (8) persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services, the supply of which may be affected by the COVID-19 response. Direct assistance does not include the routine commercial deliveries, including mixed loads with nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief added to obtain the benefits of this emergency declaration.”

It is also important to note that the Emergency Declaration does not provide relief to CDL licensing regulations in Part 383 or Drug and Alcohol Testing regulations in Part 382. FMCSA has, however, issued guidance for drug and alcohol testing regulations:  Click Here

Please continue to follow our newsletter for updates, or feel free to email or call Tim Doyle or Randy DeVault with any questions you may have regarding compliance.
New Research Designed to Quantify Trucking Impacts from COVID-19
Industry Survey Seeks Operating Impacts from Drivers, Fleets

Minneapolis, MN – The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) and the Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association Foundation (OOIDA Foundation) are conducting a joint research study to understand the numerous impacts that the Coronavirus pandemic is having on trucking operations. The research focuses heavily on a survey that solicits critical input from truck drivers and motor carrier staff who are encountering Covid-19 impacts such as limited shipper access, changing distribution patterns and traffic-related issues.

“This survey will help us confirm what we know anecdotally,” said Tom Weakley, Director of the OOIDA Foundation, “that the trucking industry is leading the charge in responding to food and medicine shortages among other critical supplies. We need everyone’s input on this effort.”

Anyone involved in trucking operations is urged to respond.

“Our goal is to complete the data analysis as quickly as possible, as it can provide important guidance to public and private decision-makers. The Covid-19 pandemic is a moving target, and we can’t afford to design policies and supply chains around guesswork,” said Dan Murray, Senior Vice President at ATRI.
Canada Introduces Potential Supply Chain Flexibility During Fight Against COVID-19
Canadian Trucking Alliance

Transport Canada, the Provinces and Territories, through the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA), have approved an hours of service exemption for federally regulated carriers related to the fight against COVID-19.

Termed the Essential Freight Transport Exemption, the hours of service exemption is designed solely to assist federally regulated motor carriers (known as extra-provincial carriers) and their drivers engaged in the transport of essential supplies and equipment in direct assistance to the emergency relief efforts during the response to COVID-19 in Canada. Exemption proposals for provincially regulated carriers may also be forthcoming from the provinces.

We will keep MMTA members posted as new information comes in. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to email Tim, Randy or Brian if you have questions.