Update on Relevant U.S. Regulations
FMCSA Requests Comments on “Broker” and “Bona Fide Agents” Definitions
On June 10, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a notice and request for comments on the definitions of “broker” and “bona fide agents.” The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act requires FMCSA to publish guidance on brokers and bona fide agents by Nov. 15. The agency seeks feedback on what criteria should be considered when determining if a business qualifies as a broker or bona fide agent. Comments are due by July 11.
PHMSA Publishes Updates on Special Permits
On June 8, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published updates on special permit applications:
- List of Applications for Special Permits – Comments are due by July 8.
- List of Applications for Modification of Special Permits – Comments are due by June 23.
- Notice of Actions on Special Permit Applications – Comments are due by July 8.
Update on Exemptions
NHTSA Grants Motorcoach Side-Facing Shoulder Belt Exemption
On June 1, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced its decision to grant an exemption to 19 final stage motorcoach manufacturers. The exemption allows the manufacturers to sell motorcoaches with side-facing seating that are only equipped with lap belts. The exemption is effective for the petitioners’ motorcoaches manufactured between June 1, 2022-June 1, 2024.
CVSA Active Exemption Tracker
CVSA maintains a list of active exemptions issued by FMCSA. The exemption tracker can be found at www.cvsa.org under the “Inspections” tab at the top of the page.
CVSA Letters, Petitions and Comments to Rulemakings
CVSA Submits Petition to Require Transporters of Hemp to Carry Uniform Shipping Documents
On June 9, CVSA submitted a petition to FMCSA to amend Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) § 395.1 to add a requirement that transporters of hemp carry uniform shipping documents. In 2018, Congress passed the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, commonly referred to as the 2018 Farm Bill, which included the legalization of hemp production. In Section 10114 of the 2018 Farm Bill, Congress prohibited states from stopping interstate transportation of hemp produced under an approved production plan. The petition outlines the need for uniform shipping documents to ensure roadside inspectors can verify the validity and safety of hemp that is being transported.
CVSA Submits Comments on FMCSA State Inspection Programs for Passenger-Carrier Vehicles ANPRM
On June 7, CVSA submitted comments to FMCSA on an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) that seeks feedback on the potential implementation of state inspection programs for passenger-carrier vehicles. CVSA’s comments recommend that FMCSA consider how to improve the periodic inspection standard in Appendix A upon which the state inspection program would be based before moving forward with the consideration of a state inspection program requirement.
CVSA Submits Petition to Change Cargo Securement Tiedown Requirements
On May 31, CVSA submitted a petition to FMCSA to amend Title 49 CFR § 393.102 and § 393.106. The petition requests that FMCSA update the requirements for the breaking strength and working load limits (WLL) of tiedowns. There is no requirement for tiedown manufacturers to label the breaking strength of a tiedown and no practical way for roadside inspectors to verify that tiedowns meet the G-force acceleration/deceleration requirements outlined in § 393.102(a)(1). Law enforcement instead uses the WLL of tiedowns to verify proper cargo securement. The petition asks FMCSA to remove the breaking strength requirement to reduce confusion and harmonize the WLL allowances with the requirements in Canada.
CVSA Submits Petition to Define “Friction Mat”
Also on May 31, CVSA submitted a petition to FMCSA to amend Title 49 CFR § 393.5 by adding a definition of “friction mat.” Currently, § 393.108(g) states that “friction mats,” which are not marked or rated by the manufacturer, shall be considered to provide resistance to horizonal movement equal to 50% of the weight placed on the mat. Without a clear definition, motor carriers may utilize nearly any material positioned under cargo to contribute to the overall aggregate WLL for their cargo securement requirements.
Other Items of Interest
FMCSA Extends COVID-19 Emergency Declaration
On May 27, FMCSA extended the emergency declaration exempting commercial motor vehicle drivers who are transporting supplies directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic from Title 49 CFR Parts 390-399. The exemption specifically applies to drivers transporting livestock, livestock feed, vaccines and related medical supplies and equipment, supplies and equipment for community safety and sanitation, fuel, and paper products and supplies for restocking grocery stores and distribution centers. The emergency declaration expires on Aug. 31.