Regulatory Update – December 9, 2022

Update on Relevant U.S. Regulations

PHMSA Publishes Final Hazardous Materials FAQ
On Dec. 9, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)  the final hazardous materials frequently asked questions (FAQ) document. In addition, the agency responded to stakeholder comments on the FAQ. On March 22, 2022, PHMSA  an initiative to convert historical letters of interpretation applicable to the Hazardous Materials Regulations that have been issued to specific stakeholders into broadly applicable FAQ. This notice responds to comments received from stakeholders, summarizes an informational webinar that was held, finalizes the first set of FAQ and announces future FAQ topics.

PHMSA Publishes Updates on Special Permits
On Dec. 5 and 9, PHMSA published updates on special permit applications:
 – Comments are due by Jan. 4, 2023.
 – Comments are due by Jan. 9, 2023.
 – Comments are due by Dec. 27.
 – Comments are due by Jan. 9, 2023.

FMCSA Publishes NPRM Addressing Applicability of Emergency Exemptions
On Dec. 8, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)  a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) seeking to narrow the scope of regulations from which relief is provided automatically for motor carriers providing direct assistance when an emergency has been declared. Through the proposed changes, FMCSA would ensure that the relief granted through emergency declarations is appropriate and tailored to the specifics of the circumstances and emergency being addressed. FMCSA also proposes revisions to the process for extending an automatic emergency exemption where circumstances warrant. Comments are due by Feb. 6, 2023.

FMCSA Publishes Correction to Interpretive Rule Adding Appendices to the FMCSR
On Nov. 28, FMCSA  a notice correcting errors in the agency’s Nov. 15 interpretive rule, which added appendices to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) to explain existing statutes and regulations FMCSA administers. The interpretive rule contained an error in the docket number, errors in the address section and errors in the Supplementary Information section. The correction was effective Nov. 28. Comments are due by Jan. 17, 2023.

Update on Exemptions

FMCSA Denies Livestock, Insects and Aquatic Animal Haulers HOS Exemption Request
On Nov. 29, FMCSA  its decision to deny the joint application from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Livestock Marketing Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Beekeeping Federation, American Honey Producers Association and National Aquaculture Association for an exemption from certain provisions in the hours-of-service (HOS) rules. The requested exemption was made on behalf of drivers who transport livestock, insects and aquatic animals. The applicants requested approval for drivers, after 10 consecutive hours off duty, to drive through the 16th consecutive hour after coming on duty, and to drive a total of 15 hours during that 16-hour period. FMCSA analyzed the application and public comments and determined that the exemption would not achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved absent such exemption.

FMCSA Grants Rosco Vision Rear Vision Mirror Exemption
Also on Nov. 29, FMCSA  its decision to grant an exemption request from Rosco Vision Inc. to allow motor carriers to operate commercial motor vehicles equipped with the company’s commercial motor vehicle digital mirror system instead of two rear-vision mirrors as required by the FMCSR. The exemption is effective Dec. 4, 2022-Dec. 4, 2027

CVSA Active Exemption Tracker
CVSA maintains a list of active exemptions issued by FMCSA. The exemption tracker can be found at under the “Inspections” tab at the top of the page.