by Today’s Trucking
April 3, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued a notice late Friday, allowing states to permit commercial food trucks to operate and sell food in designated Interstate highway rest areas.
It is the latest step taken by U.S. authorities to keep trucks rolling as the country continues its fight against the spread of Covid-19.
Last month the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) had ordered truck stops to remain open 24 hours.
“America’s commercial truck drivers are working day and night during this pandemic to ensure critical relief supplies are being delivered to our communities,” said FHWA Administrator Nicole R. Nason.
“I am grateful to our state transportation partners for bringing this idea to the department and for their leadership in thinking outside the box.”
Nason said it is critical to make sure truck drivers continue to have access to food services while they are on the job serving the country during these challenging times.
The agency noted that by statute, commercial activity in the federally funded highways is prohibited with limited exceptions.
“However, given the extreme and unprecedented nature of the Covid-19 pandemic, Administrator Nason is choosing not to take remedial measures against states that allow food trucks to provide food in rest areas off the federally funded Interstate right-of-way,” the agency said.
This will be allowed for the duration of the national emergency declared by the president in response to the public health crisis, it said.
The agency said the action is temporary, and states must come back into compliance with federal law once the emergency ends.
“Any states that do not come back into compliance after the emergency is over may be subject to remedial measures designed to achieve compliance,” the agency added.