As states are iterating and implementing travel declarations of “essential” or “non-essential,” the gray area around regulations and requirements for transporting goods across state lines is getting bigger. It’s best to be prepared in the event you are stopped while completing your transport.
While many carriers have reported no issues completing their deliveries, there are some who have reported concerns around getting into Florida or crossing the state border from Louisiana to Texas, for example. In order to be fully prepared, we recommend reviewing your shipping lane and reviewing any travel or transport restrictions in place to support public safety during COVID-19.
There are some things you can have on hand that may save you time and money when crossing state lines.
Again, these tips do NOT replace checking with local authorities and/or state guidelines on your own.
Tips on Transporting Goods Across State Lines During COVID-19
- Bill of Lading: Have your Bill of Lading (BOL) ready to show local authorities as proof your shipment is not yours, and that you are conducting business by transporting it. Check that the BOL is properly filled out and contains all necessary information — shipper information, to/from addresses, contents, etc.
- Current DOT and MC Authority: Make sure your legal operating documents are active. This will further identify you as a transportation business when stopped by a local authority. This does not mean you will immediately be cleared, as that is up to the interpretation of the state trooper or local authority.
- Refer to this State-by-State Essential Business Designation Chart: This reference guide from The National Governors Association displays how each state views “essential services.” It will come in handy as there are many different definitions.
As rules, regulations, and guidelines are constantly in flux during COVID-19, there are some things you can do to be prepared, and keep your trucking business moving. Use your best judgment, research local rules based on your transportation lane, and keep your authority and shipment documents in order.
While some organizations are providing letters to drivers and workers to prove they are conducting an essential service, uShip will not be providing such a document because we are a neutral marketplace.
Resources for More Information Around Trucking During COVID-19
FMCSA Coronavirus Information & Resources