State and Federal motor carrier regulations suspended temporarily in an effort to limit the negative fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak.
Georgia Motor Carrier Regulatory Changes
Some of Georgia’s motor carrier rules and regulations have been temporarily suspended (currently in effect until April 15, 2020) in an effort to protect the health, safety, and economic welfare of Georgia residents and businesses. On Saturday, March 14, 2020, Governor Brian Kemp declared the “Public Health State of Emergency for the State of Georgia” in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; which included the regulatory changes for motor carriers. The emergency order was ratified by the General Assembly in a special session and can be viewed here >>
The Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics provided the following list of changes to rules and regulations for motor carriers operating in the State of Georgia:
- In accordance with 49 CFR 390.23(a)(I)(i)(A), the federal rules and regulations limiting hours operators of commercial vehicles may drive are suspended to ensure that carrier crews are available as needed to provide emergency relief. This declared emergency justifies a suspension of Part 395 (driver’s hours of service) of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The suspension will remain in effect for thirty (30) days from the date the order goes into effect or until the emergency condition ceases to exist, whichever is less.
- No motor carrier operating under the terms of the executive order will require or allow an ill or fatigued driver to operate a motor vehicle. A driver who notifies a motor vehicle carrier that he or she needs immediate rest will be given at least ten (10) consecutive hours off-duty before being required to return to service.
- Weight, height, and length for any such vehicle traveling through the State of Georgia for the purposes of providing disaster relief and/or preparation, which traverses roadways maintained by the State of Georgia, shall not exceed the following:
- A maximum gross vehicle weight for vehicles equipped with five (5) weight-bearing axles, with an outer bridge span of not less than fifty-one (51) feet, shall not exceed a gross vehicle weight of ninety-five (95) thousand pounds, a maximum width of ten (10) feet, and an overall length of one hundred (100) feet. Continuous travel is authorized with the proper escorts.
- If the width of said vehicle exceeds eight (8) feet six (6) inches and is traveling after daylight, defined as thirty (30) minutes after sunrise, the transporter is required to have a vehicle front and a rear escort/amber light when traveling on a two-lane roadway and a vehicle rear escort when traveling on a four-lane highway.
- Commercial vehicles operating outside the normal weight, height, and length restrictions under the authority of the executive order shall be issued permits by the Department of Public Safety.
Federal Motor Carrier Regulatory Changes
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has also issued an emergency declaration at the national level for commercial vehicles that are transporting emergency relief and medical supplies for the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s website, the FMSCA’s emergency declaration is intended to provide immediate relief for the following:
- 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.