The Department of Homeland Security has deemed agriculture as a critical industry, allowing agriculture to operate as normal. While this is an extremely important designation, read below for specific details on waivers to trucking rules.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
On Friday, March 13th, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a national emergency declaration to provide hours-of-service regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers transporting emergency relief in response to the nationwide coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This declaration lasts until May 15, 2020.
FMCSA’s declaration provides relief for direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts intended to meet immediate needs for:
- 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.
- (Updated March 26, 2020) The Hours of Service emergency declaration declared by FMCSA does provide hours-of-service regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers transporting emergency relief in response to the nationwide coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Grain, feed, seed, and fertilizer are now covered as precursor items covered by this waiver. Additionally, livestock being hauled to a processor are included.
- Persons designated by Federal, State or local authorities for transport for medical, isolation or quarantine purposes.
- Personnel to provide medical or other emergency services.
- Those hauling livestock in emergency situations created by COVID-19.
To ensure continue safety on the nation’s roadways, the emergency declaration stipulates that once a driver has completed his or her delivery, the driver must receive a minimum of 10 hours off duty if transporting property, and 8 hours if transporting passengers.
(Updated March 24, 2020) The FMCSA has offered some additional waivers. Due to availability of medical examiners and closure of Driver Licensing Agencies the FMCSA will not take enforcement actions until at least June 30 if:
- A Commercial Driver’s License or Commercial Learner’s Permit expired March 1 or later.
- If a medical card expired March 1 or later.
(Updated March 31, 2020) Ag groups ask for additional relief: The FMCSA previously issued relief from hours of service restrictions for those hauling essential supplies relating to COVID-19. Those supplies did not include agriculture outside of livestock haulers. More than 50 ag groups sent a letter to the FMCSA requesting for additional relief for agriculture from hours of service. Additionally, the letter requested relief from restrictions associated with drug testing and agriculture related driver’s licenses. These requests have not yet been granted.
Illinois Department of Transportation
(Updated April 2, 2020) IDOT has issued a 12% overweight variance on State Routes for emergency supplies for relief. This wavier includes those hauling agricultural loads eventually destined to produce food for humans, feed for animals, fuel, fertilizer, or medical supplies/sanitizers. The waiver does not apply to all movements of agricultural products. Items hauled must be a precursor to manufacturing of an essential product. To operate using the wavier, a copy of IDOT’s declaration (Found on their permitting website), a copy of the presidential declaration, and a bill of lading. All road and bridge postings must be followed. Before traveling, drivers need to verify the restrictions on their routes at gettingaroundillinois.com. This allowance is free of charge. Please see the FMCSA website for additional details.
This wavier is available until May 15, 2020.
Secretary of State Office Closure
Illinois Secretary of State’s offices, including local offices, are closed to the public due to the COVID-19 virus. The closures will take effect March 17 through April 30. Expiration dates for driver’s licenses, identification (ID) cards, vehicle registrations (including truck registrations) and other transactions and document filings will be extended by 30 days.
Many transactions with the Secretary of State’s office may be conducted online at www.cyberdriveillinois.com. Customers are encouraged to take advantage of these online services, some of which include:
- obtaining a duplicate driver’s license or ID card,
- renewing a vehicle registration,
- obtaining a driver record abstract,
- renewing a standard driver’s license with the Safe Driver Renewal program,
- filing Business Services documents such as incorporations and annual reports,
- customers with issues involving administrative hearings may contact 312-793-3722 or 217-782-7065.
Locks and Dams
(Updated March 31, 2020) The planned lock closures on the Illinois River are still on schedule for summer 2020. Currently all locks and dams are in operation. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has shut down parks but are still operating locks and dams.