Legal Update: FMCSA Provides Hours of Service Exemption For Baby Formula Shortage

The FMCSA declared an emergency declaration granting relief of HOS requirements to those providing direct assistance to the immediate restoration of baby formula supplies.

On May 23, 2022, the FMCSA published an emergency declaration in response to the baby formula shortage. Motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance in restoring baby formula supplies have been granted relief from hours-of-service (HOS) regulations under 49 CFR 395.3.

The emergency declaration went into effect on May 23, 2022, and will expire June 30, 2022.

Baby Formula Emergency Declaration

The exemption allows drivers and motor carriers that provide direct assistance relief from the maximum driving time for property-carrying vehicles. However, motor carriers and drivers are still subject to the following restrictions and conditions:

  • The emergency declaration only applies to 49 CFR 395.3 and is not to be construed as a waiver or exemption from any applicable federal motor carrier safety regulations for which relief is not specifically granted;
  • Motor carriers or drivers that are currently subject to an out-of-service order are not eligible for the relief granted under this exemption until they have met the conditions to rescind the out-of-service order by the issuing jurisdiction; and
  • Direct assistance terminates when:
    • A driver or commercial motor vehicle is used in interstate commerce to transport cargo or provide services that are not in support of emergency relief efforts related to this emergency; or
    • The motor carrier dispatches a driver or commercial motor vehicle to another location to begin operations in commerce.

If the exemption expires or does not apply, motor carriers and drivers are subject to all 49 CFR 395.3 requirements. The FMCSA will continue to review the status of the emergency declaration and may extend, modify or terminate it if conditions warrant doing so.

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