The past week, especially in the past few days, we have seen people panic buying across the country like we have never seen before.
Basic essentials and some comfort items are running out and disappearing from store shelves. It’s scary, and the easiest way to quell that panic is to get things to where people can buy them.
The great truckers of this country would love to be able to drive as long as they can in order to get things to where they need to be, but they are shackled by laws that keep them from driving more than a certain amount of time.
All along America’s highways, trucks hauling vital relief supplies are cutting through red tape, thanks to President Donald Trump.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Friday announced that a 1938 law regulating the hours of service for truck drivers was being waived on a national basis to battle the coronavirus. The agency said this was first time the rule had ever been waived throughout the country.
“I will never hesitate to take any necessary steps to protect the lives, health, and safety of the American people. I will always put the well-being of America first,” Trump said, according to a White House media pool report.
The rule currently forbids truck drivers from driving more than 11 hours during a 14-hour work period. After that, drivers are required by law to have 10 hours of down time.
The waiver, issued by Trump and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, exempts truckers hauling medicine and other supplies necessary to battle the outbreak of the virus, FMCSA Acting Administrator Jim Mullen said.
“Because of the decisive leadership of President Trump and Secretary Chao, this declaration will help America’s commercial drivers get these critical goods to impacted areas faster and more efficiently. FMCSA is continuing to closely monitor the coronavirus outbreak and stands ready to use its authority to protect the health and safety of the American people,” Mullen said in a statement.
In addition to medicine, the waiver covers haulers carrying food to restock depleted store shelves, sanitation and cleaning supplies, equipment needed to construct temporary housing, or those who are being moved to either provide emergency services or to be removed to quarantine.
The waiver requires that after drivers reach their destination, they have at least 10 hours of down time if they’ve been carrying goods, and at least eight hours if they have been transporting people.