( File photo )

The hours of service exemption for truck drivers delivering fresh produce and other food during the COVID-19 pandemic has been extended through May 15.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s initial order waived the hours of service restriction on March 13, for a period ending April 12. The administration on April 9 extended the emergency declaration until May 15 “because emergency conditions have not abated.”

The declaration identified a number of items being transported covered by the hours of service waiver, including medical supplies equipment, food, sanitation supplies and fuel.

Drivers whose abilities or alertness is impaired by fatigue or other causes are not allowed to operate motor vehicles.

Also, the emergency declaration does not cover a driver who switches from a food delivery to a non-essential item not covered by the waiver, and the hours of service rules go back into effect.

For more stories on how the pandemic is affecting the industry, see The Packer's COVID-19 landing page.

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