Regulatory Update – Jan. 21, 2022

Update on Relevant U.S. Regulations

FMCSA Publishes Final Rule on Vision Standards
On Jan. 21, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a final rule amending the vision standards for commercial motor vehicle drivers. The change permits individuals who do not satisfy, with the worse eye, either the existing distant visual acuity standard with corrective lenses or the field of vision standard, or both, to be physically qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle. The final rule is effective March 22. Petitions for reconsideration are due by Feb. 22.

FMCSA Announces Apprenticeship Pilot Program
On Jan. 14, FMCSA published a notice of the establishment of an under-21 interstate driver apprenticeship pilot program. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act requires FMCSA to conduct a pilot program to evaluate the potential of allowing individuals ages 18-20 to operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce by completing an apprenticeship program. The pilot program will include up to 3,000 drivers and will require that they undergo more rigorous training than a standard commercial driver’s license holder. In addition, the program participants will only be permitted to operate commercial motor vehicles equipped with certain safety technology. FMCSA will publish additional information on the agency’s website when the pilot program is accepting applicants for participation.

PHMSA Publishes Updates on Special Permits
On Jan. 12 and 13, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published updates on special permit applications:

Update on Exemptions

FMCSA Grants Waste Management Rear Lamp Exemption Request
On Jan. 20, FMCSA announced the approval of an exemption request from Waste Management Inc., allowing its commercial motor vehicles to operate with amber and red brake-activated pulsating lamps on the rear of the vehicles. The exemption is effective Jan. 20, 2022-Jan. 20, 2027.

FMCSA Grants Complete Innovations Windshield Mounting Exemption Request
Also on Jan. 20, FMCSA announced the approval of an exemption request from Complete Innovations Inc., allowing its Vision 2.0 device to be mounted lower in the windshield on commercial motor vehicles than is currently permitted. The exemption is effective Jan. 20, 2022-Jan. 20, 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.

Other Items of Interest

PHMSA Publishes Notice of Enforcement Discretion for Cylinders Exceeding Periodic Requalification Testing Dates
On Jan. 11, PHMSA announced that it will not take enforcement action against the use of U.S. Department of Transportation specification cylinders to transport Division 2.2 non-flammable gas provided that the cylinder meets all of the requirements of the Hazardous Materials Regulations except that the cylinder is overdue for periodic requalification by no more than 12 months. The enforcement discretion is in effect through May 16.

FMCSA Redesignates “Appendix G” as “Appendix A”
In a recent final rule making technical corrections to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, FMCSA moved the requirements that were formerly in Appendix G to Appendix A, which was not previously in use. The change was effective on Oct. 14, 2021.