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Regulatory Update – Nov. 1, 2019

Update on Relevant U.S. Regulations

USDA Publishes Interim Final Rule on Hemp Production
On Oct. 31, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service published an interim final rule on hemp production. As required by the 2018 Farm Bill, the rule outlines a process for legal production of industrial hemp and includes that states may not prohibit the interstate transportation of lawfully produced hemp. Comments are due by Dec. 30.

U.S. DOT Publishes Correction to Civil Penalty Amounts
On Oct. 29, 2019, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) published a correction to a final rule, originally published on July 31, 2019, that implemented an annual inflation increase for civil penalty amounts that may be imposed for violations of U.S. DOT regulations.

FMCSA Requests Comments on Driver Qualification ICR
On Oct. 29, 2019, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a notice and request for comments on an information collection request (ICR) on the collection of driver qualification files. The ICR outlines the burden on the motor carrier industry to comply with the reporting and record-keeping tasks for the driver qualification files requirement. Comments are due by Nov. 29.

NHTSA Requests Comments on Crash Report Sampling System ICR
On Oct. 24, 2019, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published a notice and request for comments on the extension of an ICR for the Crash Report Sampling System. The request would allow NHTSA to continue to collect a sampling of data from police-reported crashes to provide timely crash statistics. Comments are due by Nov. 25.

FMCSA Creates New System of Records for the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse
On Oct. 22, 2019, FMCSA published a notice of a new system of records for the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. The system allows FMCSA to collect and maintain records on commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders who have verified-positive drug or alcohol test results. Comments are due by Nov. 21.

Update on Exemptions

FMCSA Requests Comments on Matrix Medical Network Hours-of-Service Exemption Request
On Oct. 31, 2019, FMCSA published a notice and request for comments on an exemption request from DPN, on behalf of the Matrix Medical Network to allow certain drivers to have up to 16-hour on-duty periods and return to work with less than the required 10 hours off duty. Comments are due by Dec. 2.

FMCSA Requests Comments on SBTC ELD Exemption Application
On Oct. 29, 2019, FMCSA published a notice and request for comments on a request for reconsideration from the Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC). The exemption requests that all motor carriers with fewer than 50 employees be exempt from the required use of electronic logging devices (ELD). SBTC’s original application for exemption was denied by FMCSA on July 17, 2019. SBTC has resubmitted its application for exemption. Comments are due by Nov. 29.

FMCSA Requests Comments on KED Hours-of-Service Exemption Request
On Oct. 23, 2019, FMCSA published a notice and request for comments on an application from Kentucky Equipment Distributors (KED) for exemption from the 12-hour limit on the short-haul hours-of-service exemption. KED requests that its short-haul drivers be allowed to return to their work reporting location within 14 hours instead of 12 and still qualify for the short-haul exemption. Comments are due by Nov. 22.

FMCSA Requests Comments on Illumination Fireworks Partners and ACE Pyro Hours-of-Service Exemption Request
Also on Oct. 23, 2019, FMCSA published a notice and request for comments on an application from Illumination Fireworks Partners LP and ACE Pyro LLC for exemption from the 14-hour on-duty period. The companies request that their drivers be allowed to exclude sleeper berth and off-duty time from the 14-hour window during the Independence Day period of June 28-July 8 each year. Comments are due by Nov. 22.

CVSA Active Exemption Tracker
CVSA maintains a list of active exemptions issued by FMCSA. Members can access the information by logging into their CVSA member portal and clicking on the “Exemptions” tab at the top of the page.

CVSA Letters, Petitions and Comments to Rulemakings

CVSA Submits Comments Regarding VSNA Rear-Vision Mirror Exemption Request
On Oct. 28, 2019, CVSA submitted comments to an exemption request from Vision Systems North America Inc. (VSNA) seeking to allow motor carriers to operate commercial motor vehicles equipped with the company’s SmartVision camera monitor system as an alternative to two rear-vision mirrors. CVSA’s comments outline commercial motor vehicle inspectors’ uses of rear-vision mirrors that may not be possible with camera monitoring systems.

CVSA Submits Comments to NHTSA ICR on the Use of Rear Visibility Cameras
Also on Oct. 28, 2019, CVSA submitted comments to NHTSA’s ICR to study the use of rear visibility cameras. CVSA’s comments outline commercial motor vehicle inspectors’ uses of rear-vision mirrors that should be considered when determining the safety benefits and impacts of the technology.

CVSA Submits Comments to FMCSA NPRM to Update the Incorporation by Reference of the CVSA Level VI OOSC
On Oct. 22, 2019, CVSA submitted comments to FMCSA supporting the amendment of the hazardous materials safety permit regulations to update the incorporation by reference of CVSA’s “North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria and Level VI Inspection Procedures and Out-of-Service Criteria for Commercial Highway Vehicles Transporting Transuranics and Highway Route Controlled Quantities of Radioactive Materials as Defined in 49 CFR Part 173.403.” The notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) would update the regulations to reference the 2019 version of the Level VI Out-of-Service Criteria (OOSC).

CVSA Submits Comments to FMCSA Part 350 NPRM
On Oct. 21, 2019, CVSA submitted comments to FMCSA’s NPRM on updates to Part 350 and the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) allocation formula. As required by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the proposed rule would amend the MCSAP allocation formula based on recommendations by the MCSAP Formula Working Group, require states to adopt a three-year commercial vehicle safety plan and reorganize the agency’s related regulations. CVSA’s comments support the adoption of the new proposed MCSAP formula and outline changes that need made to the proposed Part 350 changes to improve clarity.

CVSA Submits Comments to FMCSA Hours-of-Service NPRM
Also on Oct. 21, 2019, CVSA submitted comments to FMCSA’s hours-of-service NPRM. CVSA’s comments addressed proposed changes published by FMCSA on the short-haul limits, the exception for adverse driving conditions, the 30-minute rest break provision, the split sleeper berth rule and the extension of the 14-hour on-duty period by up to three hours.