COVID-19 emergency exemption extended to May 31

By: Daren Hansen

Publication: Transportation Regulatory Alert

Date Posted: 03/02/2021

This may be the last COVID-19 Emergency Exemption

If your drivers deliver groceries, livestock, medical supplies, or other goods that assist with pandemic relief efforts, they may remain eligible for a special exemption until the end of May.

The FMCSA has once again extended its emergency waiver that exempts certain drivers and vehicles from most federal safety regulations, including driver qualification, hours of service, and vehicle inspection rules.

The latest waiver will be in effect through May 31, 2021. The FMCSA says it hopes to “wind down” the waiver, so this may be the last extension.

Who's eligible COVID-19 Emergency Exemption?

To use the waiver, drivers must be assisting with restoration of essential services or supplies related to COVID-19; they cannot do routine commercial deliveries.

Qualifying loads include:

  • Livestock and feed;
  • Pandemic-related medical supplies and equipment, vaccines, and products related to vaccine administration and distribution;
  • Masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap, disinfectants, and similar supplies and equipment; and
  • Food, paper products, and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.

Qualifying motor carriers and drivers are exempt from 49 CFR Parts 390-399, except as noted in the emergency declaration available at:

About the author
Daren Hansen - Transportation Safety Editor

Based on his expertise in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, Daren is responsible for writing and editing content for safety-related products, publications, and services for the trucking industry.

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