Regulatory Update – Dec. 28, 2020

Update on Relevant U.S. Regulations

PHMSA Publishes Final Rule Making Editorial Corrections and Clarifications to HMRs
On Dec. 21, 2020, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published a final rule amending the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs) to make editorial changes and clarifications. The intended effect of the rulemaking is to enhance accuracy and reduce misunderstanding of the regulations. The rule is effective Jan. 20, 2021.

FMCSA Requests Comments on CDL Skills Testing Delays Annual Survey ICR
On Dec. 14, 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a notice and request for comments on an information collection request (ICR) that will allow the agency to conduct an annual survey on delays with commercial driver’s license (CDL) skills testing. The ICR is needed to collect information from states on the average wait time for testing and the number of testing sites. Comments are due by Jan. 13, 2021.

FMCSA Publishes NPRM on Record of Violations Requirements
Also on Dec. 14, 2020, FMCSA published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to eliminate the requirement that drivers operating commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce prepare and submit a list of convictions for traffic violations to their employers annually. FMCSA states that the requirement is largely duplicative of the requirement that motor carriers make an annual inquiry to obtain the motor vehicle record for each driver they employ. Comments are due by Feb. 12, 2021.

Update on Exemptions

FMCSA Grants Joint AAR and ASLRRA Hours-of-Service Exemption Request
On Dec. 23, 2020, FMCSA announced the approval of an exemption request from the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) for exemption from various hours-of-service requirements. Under the exemption, railroad workers responding to unplanned events are exempt from the requirement to take 10 consecutive hours off duty, the 11 hours maximum driving time and the 30-minute rest break requirement, and are permitted to extend the 14-hour duty period to 17 hours and the 60/70 hours on duty in a seven/eight-day work week by up to six hours. The exemption is effective Dec. 23, 2020-Dec. 18, 2025.

FMCSA Grants Netradyne Windshield Mounting Exemption Request
On Dec. 18, 2020, FMCSA announced the approval of an exemption request from Netradyne Inc., allowing its Driveri dash cam to be mounted lower in the windshield on commercial motor vehicles than is currently permitted. The exemption is effective Dec. 18, 2020-Dec. 15, 2025.

FMCSA Requests Comments on MBR Helicopter Hours-of-Service Exemption Request
Also on Dec. 18, 2020, FMCSA published a notice and request for comments on an exemption request from Mountain Blade Runner (MBR) Helicopter LLC asking that ground support equipment operators be permitted to operate during a 16-hour on-duty window instead of 14 and only be required to take eight consecutive hours off duty instead of the required 10. Comments are due by Jan. 19.

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.

CVSA Letters, Petitions and Comments to Rulemakings

CVSA Submits Comments and Petition for Reconsideration on Agricultural Commodity Definition IFR
On Dec. 24, 2020, CVSA submitted comments on and a petition for reconsideration of FMCSA’s interim final rule (IFR) making changes to the definitions of agricultural commodity, livestock and non-processed food. CVSA’s comments and petition outline changes that need made to the IFR to make sure the definitions are clear, enforceable and can be uniformly applied during a roadside inspection.