Biden administration waiving limitations for truck drivers to speed baby formula production

The Department of Transportation is waiving some requirements for truck drivers carrying baby formula ingredients and packaging amid a nationwide shortage of formula.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) declared an emergency Monday due to the shortage of baby formula, which the FMCSA described as an “essential supply.”

“This Emergency Declaration addresses nationwide emergency conditions creating a need for immediate transportation of baby formula, ingredients for the production of baby formula including but not limited to whey, casein, corn syrup and hydrolyzed protein, and containers and packaging for baby formula, and provides necessary relief,” the FMCSA wrote.

The agency announced that drivers who are “providing direct assistance to the emergency in direct support of relief efforts” related to the formula shortage will no longer be subject to a rule that established a maximum driving time for vehicles carrying supplies.

The rule in question, 49 CFR § 395.3, limits drive times to a total of 11 hours in a 14-hour period as well as instituting break requirements every eight hours. Drivers are also required to take an established number of hours off duty between drives depending on situations outlined in the rule.

The declaration referenced President Biden’s invocation of the Defense Production Act last week to address the shortage as part of the rationale for waiving limitations for FMCSA drivers, noting that the president had required that suppliers prioritize directing ingredients to baby formula manufacturers.

“Direct assistance does not include routine commercial deliveries, including mixed loads with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief added to obtain the benefits of this emergency declaration,” the FMCSA said in its announcement, adding that to be eligible for relief from the rule “the transportation must incident to the immediate restoration of baby formula supplies.”

Tags Baby Formula Baby formula shortage Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration FMCSA Joe Biden
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