FMCSA Compliance After COVID-19
Since March 2020, the FMCSA has provided emergency exemptions and waivers to support COVID-19 emergency relief efforts. The FMCSA has provided waivers and exemptions for hours-of-service rules, pre-employment drug testing, driving skills tests, and renewals for CDLs, CLPs, and medical certifications. Employers that used any of these exemptions or waivers must document them in their drivers’ files.
Exemptions vs. Waivers
An exemption is temporary regulatory relief from one or more of the FMCSRs. An exemption provides relief from the regulations for up to two years and can be renewed. A waiver is temporary regulatory relief from one or more of the FMCSRs. A waiver can provide relief for up to three months and can be extended. The waivers provide relief from specific regulations or give states the option to permit their drivers’ waivers.
Regulations Affected by Exemptions or Waivers
Parts 390-399 of the FMCSRs are the regulations that are often exempted or waived. Among these regulations are rules relating to hours of service, vehicle maintenance, inspections, and general driver qualifications. Unless otherwise noted, the following regulations are not exempted by emergency declarations:
- Controlled substance and alcohol use and testing
- CDL requirements
- Minimum levels of financial responsibility
- Hazardous materials
One of the regulations affected by the COVID-19 exemptions is the driver qualification file requirements. Documentation for driver qualification files, such as new hire documentation or documents that need regular updating, is likely not completed by employers. This documentation can include:
- New hire driver applications
- Initial and yearly MVR checks
- Road testing documents
- Requests for safety performance history
- Medical examiner certificates
Employers should update the files with the required forms and note the files’ date brought up to compliance. The employer should also provide evidence to prove the driver qualified for the exemption in the file.
Some waivers that the FMCSA has issued have included stipulations that drivers must meet for the waivers to apply. If a waiver with stipulations was implemented, the employer should document those stipulations and waiver qualifications in the driver’s file. Drivers should have their licenses renewed and update any documentation required by the FMCSRs that has been waived. Employers should document all pertinent information in their drivers’ files.
RBN Can Help
RBN is a resource for you and your company in navigating necessary compliance. We keep our clients abreast on legislative and regulatory requirements and changes. RBN is a comprehensive, single-source solution providing powerful and economical insurance and risk management programs. RBN develops customized plans to control liabilities, design a culture of safety, and build business continuity.