TSA offers guidance on HMEs and TWICs

From National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC).

In response to the COVID-19 emergency, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is finalizing a draft exemption notice and accompanying memo that permits State licensing entities to grant a 120-day extension on a Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HME) security threat assessment for drivers whose HMEs expired on March 1, 2020, or later within 120 days of the notice’s publication in the Federal Register. This proposed extension will allow drivers whose HMEs recently expired or will soon be expiring to continue to transport hazardous materials in light of access constraints to enrollment centers or State licensing entities because of COVID-19.

TSA also offered clarification on the use of expired TWIC cards. Current Federal regulations permit unescorted access to secure areas of maritime facilities or vessels with an expired TWIC under special circumstances.  If an individual cannot present a TWIC because it expired, and the individual previously has been granted unescorted access to secure areas with a TWIC, the individual may be granted unescorted access to secure areas by a facility or vessel for a period of no longer than 30 consecutive calendar days, see 33 CFR § 101.550 (a).  TSA is coordinating with USCG on a regular basis to determine if additional guidance may be needed to support transportation workers.  Updated information regarding USCG operations and procedures, including TWIC, may be found under “Featured Content” on the USCG Deputy Commandant for Operations website  and by monitoring Coast Guard Maritime Commons.

See the original release from NTTC online.

CDC self-quarantine guidance for greater NYC transportation & delivery workers

On March 26, the CDC clarified their guidance concerning transportation and delivery workers who had traveled through, or work in the area.

When we issued the self-quarantining guidance for greater New York City residents leaving this area, it was out of an abundance of caution to help protect U.S. areas with lower levels of COVID-19 spread. In line with our recommendations for other essential critical infrastructure workers, this guidance does not apply to critical transportation and delivery workers who are desperately needed for New York residents to continue their daily lives and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Truck drivers and other people driving into the city to deliver needed supplies should stay in their vehicles as much as possible as supplies are loaded and unloaded, avoid being within 6 feet of others as much as possible when they exit their vehicles, and move to electronic receipts if possible. If these drivers need to spend the night in the greater New York City area, they should stay in their hotel rooms or sleeper cab, when available, to the extent possible and continue to practice social distancing. Drivers who take these precautions should not need to self-quarantine when they leave the greater New York area, unless self-quarantine is recommended by state or local officials for all residents in the areas where they live.

Truck drivers and other workers who obtain or deliver needed supplies who live in the greater New York area may continue to work both within and outside of the greater New York area but should stay at home and practice social distancing according to instructions of state and local officials when they are not working. While they are working either within or outside of the greater New York area, they should stay in their vehicles as much as possible, avoid being within 6 feet of others as much as possible when they exit their vehicles, and move to electronic receipts if possible.

See the complete statement from CDC online.

Update: Overweight divisible load permits for transportation of emergency relief supplies

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) has clarified with MTAC the cost and duration of permits for overweight divisible load permits for the transportation of emergency relief supplies.

A monthly permit may be granted by ConnDOT for $100 per month. It is on a per-truck basis, as fleet permits are not available. This permit is based on a calendar month, i.e. the 1st through the 31st of the month. For applicants who are granted a monthly permit between now and the end of the month, ConnDOT will exclude the rest of this month in the fee calculation.

A single trip (including one-way or round trip) permit may also be granted for $35.

View MTAC’s original post about the new permit, including how to apply for it.

FMCSA grants limited exemptions for expired CDLs, medical cards

From Transport Topics.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on March 24 issued a formal notice that it will not take enforcement action for certain expired commercial driver licenses, learner permits and medical certifications through June 30.

“Many States are experiencing greater than normal employee absences or have closed offices of their state driver licensing agencies in response to the guidance from the U.S. Center for Disease Control to use social distancing to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” the policy statement said. “Because of these actions, many commercial motor vehicle drivers are unable to renew their driver’s license and are unable to provide medical certificates to their state driver licensing agencies.”

In addition, many medical providers nationwide have canceled regularly scheduled appointments to dedicate resources to the COVID-19 response or for related reasons, and drivers are unable to obtain appointments for physical examinations with medical examiners to comply with FMCSA regulations, the agency said.

See the complete article from Transport Topics online.

Note: The Connecticut DMV has issued a 90-day extension for credentials (including CDLs, registrations, IRP registrations) expiring between March 10 and June 8, 2020. DMV has also indicated to MTAC that they will seek to adopt the guidance from FMCSA regarding medical certifications, meaning that a driver will not face enforcement action for an expired medical card as long as it expired on or after March 1, 2020.

See this DMV website for more information.

FMCSA COVID-19 drug and alcohol testing guidance

From FMCSA.

To help ensure the safety and well-being of everyone, while also ensuring that we continue to meet our mission, we are providing the following guidance in effect until May 30, 2020 (90 days from the date proclaimed as the beginning of the national emergency in the President’s Proclamation on Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak), unless the national emergency is extended beyond that date.

Please click on this link to access information, provided by DOT’s Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy Compliance (ODAPC), about the impact of the COVID-19 national emergency on DOT drug and alcohol testing requirements for employers, employees, and service agents. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations provide reasonable flexibility to motor carrier employers and their drivers subject to testing under 49 CFR part 382 to address the COVID-19 national emergency. FMCSA is aware that, as described in ODAPC’s guidance, disruptions caused by the COVID-19 national emergency are interfering with, and in some cases, may be preventing, employer and driver compliance with current drug and alcohol testing requirements. In addition to the guidance provided by ODAPC, see below for further information specifically related to FMCSA’s testing requirements.

The complete post from FMCSA, including their recommended actions for FMCSA-regulated employers unable to conduct tests, is available online.

Note to MTAC’s Fleet Screen participants

If you are a participant of MTAC’s drug and alcohol testing program which is administered by Fleet Screen, and are having problems completing tests, you need to contact Fleet Screen immediately. Fleet Screen will work with participants to ensure full compliance for members who are in the MTAC program.

FAQs related to FMCSA Emergency Declaration Part 2: March 25

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has released a second set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding their emergency declaration, which primarily dealt with an Hours of Service (HOS) waiver for the transportation of supplies in response to the public health emergency.

Members may also be interested in a higher-level page from FMCSA regarding response to the public health emergency.

State launches no-interest small business recovery loans

From CBIA.

The state is offering short-term, no-interest bridge loans up to $75,000 to small businesses with less than 100 employees impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan Program funding is available immediately through the Department of Economic and Community Development and underwritten by Connecticut Innovations.

Funds from the $25 million short-term emergency loan program will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Eligibility Requirements

  • To be considered for this program, a business or nonprofit must:
  • Have no more than 100 employees
  • Be in good standing with the Department of Revenue Services and DECD
  • Profitable prior to March 10, 2020—with no adverse personal credit reports 60 days past due the past six months
  • Not involved in real estate, multi-level marketing, adult entertainment, cannabis, or firearms
  • Not a state elected public official or state employee

Terms and Conditions

  • Loan maximum of (a) $75,000 or (b) three months operating expenses, whichever is less
  • 0% interest rate
  • 12-month term, with six-month extension available per request
  • Freely pre-payable
  • Working capital loan
  • Personal guarantee and credit score required

The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) is accepting loan applications online.

Truckers continue to deliver critical supplies during pandemic

From NBC Connecticut.

MTAC President Joe Sculley is featured in this report from NBC Connecticut. Click here to view an archived version of the video which aired on March 25, 2020.

How truckers are keeping shelves stocked and packages delivered amid outbreak

From NBC’s Today Show.

The nation’s 3 million truck drivers are unsung heroes of the coronavirus, working overtime to keep the critical supply chain moving. NBC’s Sam Brock reports for TODAY from Houston.

Click here to see the archived video report.

Tips for the trucking industry to stay healthy and safe

During this public health emergency, the trucking industry is considered “essential” and may continue to operate during Governor Lamont’s “stay at home” Executive Order. While the industry is working, we must do everything possible to protect the health and safety of member employees. Accordingly, MTAC is sharing some practices being used by members to maximize the health and safety of not only drivers, but all employees.

Members may consider the following:

  • Implore employees to stay home if sick
  • If employees have symptoms such as fever or respiratory issues, require them to seek medical evaluation immediately
  • If any drivers develop symptoms, deep clean their truck extensively with a cleaner utilizing personal protective equipment
  • Ensure drivers are getting the rest they need to maintain their own health
  • Distribute anti-bacterial wipes to each driver to carry with them to wipe their cabs, equipment, door handles, and trailer handles regularly
  • Ask drivers to stay in their truck as much as possible while on the job
  • Suggest drivers bring their own lunch, coffee, etc. to refrain from stopping at stores in order to minimize exposure
  • Encourage drivers to stay six feet away from others when they make store deliveries, if possible
  • Ask customers to eliminate the need for physical signatures whenever possible
  • If a signature is required, drivers should use their own pens for signing, not share a pen
  • Drivers should wear gloves as much as possible, i.e. at fuel pumps, while making deliveries, etc.
  • Clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces
  • Have dispatchers wear gloves when receiving and processing paperwork
  • Sanitize e-jacks and trailer doors on a continual basis
  • Clean interior bay doors and related equipment/buttons on a continual basis

Best wishes to all MTAC members during these difficult times.