Trucking Compliance Considerations – When the Emergency Ends But the Demand for Delivery Continues
MMTA - March 30, 2020
This article is intended to provide our members with important factors to consider when the Emergency Declaration issued by FMCSA and the Civil State of Emergency issued by Governor Mills ends. At the time of this writing, the Emergency Declaration issued by FMCSA is scheduled to expire April 12, 2020 at 11:59 pm. This is not legal advice and it is by no means an all-inclusive list, but we wanted to provide our members with information to encourage proactive planning.
The very nature of the emergency declaration has meant that many (if not all) of our members have been working many extra hours to provide relief to the emergency related to COVID-19. These extra hours delivering essential supplies takes a toll on equipment and many minor issues related to maintenance may have been deferred. Additionally, State resources such as Maine BMV, and access to testing facilities for issuance of DOT medical cards or drug testing have been closed or limited at best. It is anticipated that the demand for trucking will continue, perhaps well past the period that FMCSA has granted or will extend the Emergency Declaration. It is therefore incumbent on our Members to be prepared for the expiration of the declaration.
The Maine State Police as well as Commercial Enforcement Agencies across the Country will undoubtedly step up enforcement at the end of the emergency period. The goal for enforcement will be to ensure that any deferred maintenance, licensing, or registration issues are brought back into compliance immediately following the emergency. As such, motor carriers want to be ahead of the curve.
The Maine Motor Transport Association offers the following steps to consider as the Declaration expires:
HOURS OF SERVICE:
The Emergency Declaration waived the hours of service for Motor Carriers and Drivers who were providing direct relief to the emergency related to COVID-19. The time spent driving in relief of the emergency does not count against the hours of service for the driver. Motor Carriers and drivers should develop plans for getting back into compliance with the regulations when the emergency expires.
A minimum of 10 consecutive hours off-duty should be granted to all drivers before driving after the emergency. For larger motor carriers, consideration to rotating rest leading into normal operations should be given in order to maintain delivery availability as the emergency expires.
Motor Carriers should perform complete examinations of their equipment and perform any maintenance that had been deferred during the emergency. Consideration should be given to having a complete inspection performed by a licensed inspection mechanic, even if periodic annual inspection is not due.
DRUG AND ALCOHOL TESTING:
from DOT regarding drug random drug testing requirements during the emergency. Many drivers or motor carriers may have missed random testing during the emergency or were unable to perform testing because of COVID-19 related issues at the testing facility or with the motor carrier.
If drivers were selected in the first quarter of 2020 and were unable to test, those tests should be completed as soon as possible within the second quarter. The motor carrier should maintain documentation of why testing was not completed in the first quarter as selected.
If you are in our Fleet Screen program, they will ensure that the consortium remains in compliance with the annual testing rates of 50/10%. If Fleet Screen manages a custom program for you, they will also ensure that your custom program remains compliant with the testing rates. If you manage your own program, however, you must ensure that the annual testing rates of 50/10% are adhered to by making the appropriate number of selections and completing the tests by the end of the year. Those tests should be evenly selected throughout the end of the year.
CDL’s and CDL-P’s:
FMCSA recommended that States extend the expiration of CDL’s for the period of the emergency and 30 days afterward. This may mean that some driver’s CDL’s expired during the emergency. The expiration date of all driver credentials should be reviewed and drivers should avoid delay in renewing expired credentials.
SELF-CERTIFICATION OF MEDICAL CARD STATUS:
Some drivers may have obtained a new medical card during the emergency, but were unable to self-certify to the State Driver License Authority as Maine BMV was closed. Motor Carriers and divers should review MVR’s and the self-certification status of all drivers to ensure all are compliant with this requirement. Motor Carriers may email the self-certification form and a copy of the new medical card to: firstname.lastname@example.org After 10 days has passed, you should obtain a new MVR to ensure the self-certification process was completed. Performing the Annual Certification of the MVR at this time, per Part 391.25 is a prudent step.
DOT MEDICAL CARDS:
Expired DOT medical cards should be renewed and drivers should self-certify as above. Expired medical cards will not be valid once the emergency declaration expires, yet medical facilities may still be challenged in terms of availability to perform exams. Contacting your Medical Examiner to plan for exams is essential. Make sure your drivers have all medical history, lists of medications, sleep apnea records etc. when going for appointments in order to avoid unnecessary delay in the issuance of cards.
For an expired CDL with a hazardous materials endorsement, you will need to contact the BMV office at (207)624-9000 ext. 52122 to schedule a time and location to take the hazmat test. The commercial driver license manual can be found at the following web address to prepare in advance. https://www.maine.gov/sos/bmv/licenses/cdlmanual.pdf
Maine BMV closed their offices at the start of the emergency rendering motor carriers without the ability to register or renew registrations in the IRP. Most municipalities also closed, leaving motor carriers unable to register new or used vehicles because excise tax could not be paid.
Motor carriers should review their fleets and ensure that all of the vehicles are registered within the first 30 days following the expiration of the civil emergency granted by Governor Mills.
Motor Carriers should review expiring fuel credentials. Maine (Intrastate) fuel decals are due to expire on June 30th. Any new vehicle put in service during the emergency will not have a fuel sticker as they could not be issued due to BMV being closed. Those vehicles may need fuel decals for 2020 and the upcoming year.
IFTA quarterly filings will be due as normal and should be able to be filed online. If you do not yet have an online account, you should consider setting one up at Maine BMV.
Motor Carriers and drivers should review their standard in-service and required training to ensure compliance. If motor carriers have not provided reasonable suspicion training to supervisors, trained new hazmat employees in hazmat awareness within 90 days of hire, or have not provided this training every three years as required – these training requirements should be met.
The federal regulations also require in Part 390, that motor carriers must be knowledgeable of the regulations and provide training to their drivers. As the emergency ends, motor carriers should review and get caught up on any training that was deferred. Maine Motor Transport Association is a trusted resource in meeting all of your training requirements. Contact
if you wish to schedule training that is not listed on our homepage under seminars/events.
MANAGING THE NEW NORMAL:
Preparing for the new normal will also be important. As the emergency ends, but the demand on our drivers continues, motor carriers should make plans to obtain essential PPE for drivers for the future. Important items to consider as standard issue, include gloves, sanitary wipes, protective masks and hand sanitizer.
Maine Motor Transport Association appreciates the jobs that our members do everyday to deliver the essential goods and supply chain services that our Country relies upon. We know that the safety of your employees and the motoring public is a top concern for all of you. Taking time to review the suggestions above is a good reminder of the basic safety management practices that our members perform on a regular basis. These times are not routine, however, and reviewing and paying extra attention to detail is more important than ever.
Please let us know if we can help with any of your compliance needs. It is an honor to serve our outstanding membership.