The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is distributing 1 million protective masks to commercial truck drivers to enhance safety during the coronavirus pandemic.
The agency announced the distribution effort, led by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, on April 29. The effort reflects a partnership with state representatives, industry groups, and motor carriers.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provided the masks.
Some 800,000 masks are being distributed across Arkansas, California, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska, New York, and Texas. An additional 200,000 masks are being delivered directly to carriers to distribute to drivers.
In New York, the state that has been struck most severely by the virus, distribution will take place in the Bronx and Staten Island, as well as at the Sloatsburg travel center, which is about 20 miles west of the Hudson River, close to the New Jersey border.
Distribution in Arkansas will take place at points along several major routes, including interstates 30, 40, and 55. Specifically, distribution locations will be set up near Arkansas’ borders with Oklahoma, Texas, and Tennessee.
In California, distribution will occur at two points outside Los Angeles and eight California Highway Patrol Field Divisions throughout the state.
The mask distribution effort is one of a few measures FMCSA has taken to provide relief to truckers during the pandemic. The agency issued a nationwide emergency declaration offering relief of hours-of-service rules for motor carriers hauling essential freight and subsequently extended that declaration through May 15.
Separately, FMCSA announced it would allow third-party commercial driver license test examiners who are authorized to administer CDL skills tests to also manage CDL knowledge tests without completing a training course for the test.