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Regulatory Update – July 22, 2022

Update on Relevant U.S. Regulations

U.S. DOT Forms Transforming Transportation Advisory Committee and Solicits Members
On July 20, the Office of the Secretary (OST) of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced the establishment of the Transforming Transportation Advisory Committee (TTAC). The notice includes the TTAC Charter and the TTAC Membership Balance Plan. The TTAC Charter will be effective for two years. OST also published a notice requesting nominations to serve on the committee. Nominations are due by Aug. 19.

OST Announces Creation of Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program Records System
On July 15, OST published a notice announcing a new system of records titled “Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot” (SDAP) Program. This system of records will allow the U.S. DOT to collect and maintain records on safety performance and driving profiles of drivers voluntarily participating in the program and receiving an exemption to operate in interstate commerce before reaching the age of 21. The information will be used to analyze the safety performance of apprenticeship drivers as compared to current commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. This system maintains records on carriers, experienced drivers and SDAP drivers. Comments on the system are due by Aug. 15.

NHTSA Updates Rear Impact Guard Safety Standards
Also on July 15, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published a final rule updating the agency’s rear underride safety standards, adopting requirements similar to Transport Canada’s standard for rear impact guards. Adopting these standards will require rear impact guards to provide sufficient strength and energy absorption to protect occupants of compact and subcompact passenger cars impacting the rear of trailers at 35 miles/56 kilometers per hour. The final rule is effective on Jan. 11, 2023. The compliance date is July 15, 2024. Optional early compliance is permitted. Petitions for reconsideration are due by Aug. 29.

FMCSA Seeks Comments on Renewal of Lease and Interchange of Vehicles ICR
On July 13, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a notice and request for comments on the agency’s intent to request renewal of an information collection request (ICR) to determine the burden associated with for-hire truck leasing regulations and passenger carrier regulations. These regulations require certain for-hire property carriers and for-hire and private passenger carriers to have a formal lease when leasing equipment from other motor carriers. Comments are due by Sept. 12.

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

PHMSA Seeks Comments on Use of Electronic Hazard Communication
On July 11, PHMSA published a request for comments on the potential use of electronic communication as an alternative to the agency’s current physical documentation requirements for hazard communication. Comments are due by Sept. 9.

FMCSA Seeks Comments on Several ICR Renewals
Also on July 11, FMCSA published three notices seeking comments on the agency’s intent to request renewals for several ICRs. Comments for each notice are due by Aug. 10.

  • Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program ICR – The original ICR was previously approved under emergency procedures on Jan. 24 and expires on July 31. The ICR is necessary for FMCSA to conduct the pilot program to determine the safety impacts of allowing 18- to 20-year-old commercial driver’s license holders to operate CMVs in interstate commerce. The ICR will cover data collected on drivers and carriers participating in the pilot program.
  • Motor Carrier Identification Report ICR – This ICR is used to identify FMCSA-regulated entities, to help prioritize the agency’s activities, to aid in assessing the safety outcomes of those activities and for statistical purposes.
  • Hours of Service (HOS) of Drivers Regulations ICR – The HOS regulations require a motor carrier to install, and requires each of its drivers subject to the record of duty status (RODS) rule to use, an electronic logging device (ELD) to report the driver’s RODS. The RODS is critical to FMCSA’s safety mission because it helps enforcement officials determine if CMV drivers are complying with the HOS rules limiting driver on-duty and driving time and requiring periodic off-duty time.

Update on Exemptions

FMCSA Denies Harris Companies ELD Exemption Request
On July 18, FMCSA announced its decision to deny Harris Companies Inc.’s application for exemption from the ELD rule for all its employees who are required to prepare records of duty status. This includes elevator technicians, electricians, other general laborers and welders who operate CMVs in interstate commerce. FMCSA determined that the applicant did not demonstrate how they would achieve an equivalent level of safety under the exemption.