MONTREAL, Que. – Quebec has followed the lead of the federal government and several other provinces, introducing hours of service relief for emergency loads of Covid-19 supplies.
The specific loads include food, sanitary and medical equipment, pharmaceutical products, products used to produce food, or a combination of these goods.
But the Societe de l’assurance automobile du Quebec (SAAQ), the province’s regulator, stresses that drivers must remain on the lookout for signs of fatigue, and ensure they only drive if they feel they can.
“The Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec counts on the usual collaboration of transport industry professionals to ensure the safety of all users of the road. Their work is of great importance, both daily and in these exceptional times,” it says in a release.
The move comes in the wake of earlier guidance for federally regulated carriers, through the Essential Freight Transport Exemption, which offers further details.
The rules still require drivers to maintain logs, and carriers using the exemption must follow a list of criteria such as notifying an hours of service director where they plan to use the exemption, identifying all the drivers and vehicles that will use it, and including a copy of the exemption in every vehicle. Drivers who are using the exemption will need to note that in the remarks section of a daily log.
Nova Scotia, Ontario and Saskatchewan have already established similar rules.
The U.S. offered such relief first, introducing a national emergency declaration to provide hours-of-service (HOS) relief to interstate truck drivers moving emergency supplies in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.
It’s the first time the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued such nationwide relief.