WHER Chat: Emergency Declaration for Commercial Vehicles Delivering Coronavirus Relief


As the CEO & President of Women in the Housing & Real Estate Ecosystem (NAWRB) and Desirée Patno Enterprises, Inc. (DPE) Real Estate Brokerage, Advisor & Investor for AmicusBrain—AI for Aging Population, CSO for ZuluTime, Publisher, Connector and a National Speaker, Desirée Patno’s network and wealth of knowledge crosses a vast economic footprint. With three decades specializing in the Housing & Real Estate Ecosystem and owning her own successful brokerage, she leads her executive team’s expertise of Social Impact, Gender Equality and Access to Capital, and provides personalized consulting services to the Real Estate and Family Office community.

On March 13th, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a national emergency declaration, which supersedes an 83-year-old preexisting ruling,  to provide hours-of-service regulatory relief to commercial vehicle providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts intended to meet immediate needs, such as supplying medical supplies and equipment for COVID-19 testing and medical workers; food for emergency restocking of store; as well as equipment for temporary housing and quarantine facilities. For more information on the emergency declaration, click here

Watch the video from the “Government Panel” during the 2019 NAWRB Conference, which featured government officials who discussed the importance of a recent proposed rulemaking made by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) last year that revised its Hours of Service of Drivers (HOS) rules for commercial truck drivers to improve the supply chain, safety of commercial truck drivers and livestock. Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmwJyTtt-60

The panel included Saul Schwartz, Director of the Office of Minority & Women Inclusion (OMWI) at Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Helene Schneider, Regional Coordinator of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness; Michelle Corridon, Deputy Director at USDA Rural Development; Terri Billups, Assistant District Director of Economic Development at Los Angeles District Office for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA); and Marina DeWit, Region 9 Advocate at the U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy.

Marina DeWit deals with federal regulations that impact small businesses, whether existing or upcoming, in her line of work. She tells small business owners that they have to vocalize when regulations are hurting their business: “You are the experts and you have to speak up about what is not working for you. Can be about fees for paying for services.” It is as simple as going to her office’s website and submitting your comments. 

Marina has experience running her own small business, so she can relate to the concerns and struggles that other small businesses deal with. She shared a story of when she assisted in having the SBA amend a regulation that required drivers must stop after a certain time. This regulation was becoming a burden and a safety hazard when drivers had livestock or when it affected their driving hours. 

Marina references a rulemaking made by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration last year that revised its Hours of Service of Drivers (HOS) rules for commercial truck drivers.  The revisions were intended to provide greater flexibility for drivers subject to the HOS rules without adversely affecting safety. As outlined in the SBA’s official press release, the proposal includes five main changes, including:

  • “Change the short-haul exception available to certain commercial drivers by lengthening the drivers’ maximum on duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extending the distance limit within which the driver may operate from 100 air miles to 150 air miles;
  • Modify the adverse driving conditions exception by extending by 2 hours the maximum window during which driving is permitted;
  • Increase flexibility for the 30-minute break rule by tying the break requirement to 8 hours of driving time without an interruption for at least 30 minutes, and allowing the break to be satisfied by a driver using ‘on duty, not driving’ status, rather than ‘off duty’ only;
  • Modify the sleeper-berth exception to allow drivers to split their required 10 hours off duty into two periods: one period of at least 7 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and the other period of not less than 2 consecutive hours, either off duty or in the sleeper berth. Neither period would count against the driver’s 14-hour driving window; and,
  • Allow one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes, but not more than 3 hours, that would pause a truck driver’s 14-hour driving window, provided the driver takes 10 consecutive hours off-duty at the end of the work shift.”

Join NAWRB September 28-30, 2020 at Resort at Squaw Creek in Lake Tahoe, California for our annual conference, “Women’s Equality in a New Century”, as we expand on the topics of homeownership, housing solutions, STEM, women veterans, and more! The link to the conference is here: https://www.nawrbconference.com.

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