FMCSA Publishes COVID-19 Emergency Declaration

On March 13, the United States Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”), published an Emergency Declaration which suspends Hours of Service (HOS) for drivers providing direct assistance to the COVID-19 outbreak relief effort. Per the FMCSA, the declaration is in effect until the COVID-19 emergency is terminated or April 12, 2020, whichever comes first. This Emergency Declaration applies only to drivers and carriers in the United States. The Canadian Government and Transport Canada have not announced any emergency changes to HOS or carrier operations in Canada at the time of this publication.

Under this Emergency Declaration the FMCSA has defined specific criteria that allow a carrier to be eligible for HOS relief. Guidance and a copy of the Declaration can be found at the FMCSA’s Emergency Declaration page.

Carriers and drivers will need to familiarize themselves with the specifics of the Emergency Declaration and coordinate with federal, state and local authorities regarding eligibility for HOS exemption in relation to potential COVID-19 support operations.

While this Emergency Declaration provides the flexibility needed to respond to the developing health crisis, drivers and carriers should monitor driver fatigue to ensure driver safety and the safe delivery of supplies and support.

As the COVID-19 situation evolves we expect there will be further clarifications and adjustments related to Hours of Service. ORBCOMM will continue to monitor the changes and will respond as necessary.  Drivers and carriers are encouraged to monitor the FMCSA’s website as well as state and local agencies during the COVID-19 emergency to ensure they have the most up to date information and understand how these changes will affect their fleets.


Mark Kuiack

Mark Kuiack is Director of Digital Marketing for ORBCOMM. He is responsible for the strategic direction of ORBCOMM's web and social media presence, and has over 15 years of experience in marketing and writing about various technology applications.

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