Regulatory Update – Sept. 4, 2020

Update on Relevant U.S. Regulations

PHMSA Publishes Updates on Special Permits
On Sept. 4, 2020, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published updates on special permit applications:

FMCSA Proposes Split Duty Period Pilot Program
On Sept. 3, 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a notice and request for comments on a 14-hour driving window pilot program. The pilot program would evaluate the effects of allowing a commercial motor vehicle driver to extend the 14-hour window by up to three hours by taking an off-duty break. Comments are due Nov. 2.

U.S. DOT Publishes Drug and Alcohol Testing ICR Renewal Request
On Sept. 3, 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation published a notice and request for comments on the renewal of an information collection request (ICR) necessary for drug and alcohol testing. The ICR allows the agency to collect the necessary data needed to verify compliance with the various drug and alcohol testing requirements for transportation employees. Comments are due by Oct. 5.

FMCSA Publishes Motor Carrier Operating Authority ICR
On Aug. 28, 2020, FMCSA published a notice and request for comments on the renewal of an ICR on motor carrier operating authority. The ICR allows the agency to collect the necessary information for motor carriers who are seeking additional authority and Mexico-domiciled carriers who wish to operate beyond the U.S.-Mexico border commercial zone. Comments are due by Oct. 27.

U.S. DOT Publishes Semiannual Regulatory Agenda
On Aug. 26, 2020, U.S. DOT published its semiannual summary of current and projected rulemakings, existing regulations and actions completed by each agency. The agenda also provides the public with information on planned activities for the year.

Update on Exemptions

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

FMCSA Denies CVSA Petition for Reconsideration of Hours-of-Service Final Rule
On Sept. 4, 2020, FMCSA sent CVSA a letter denying the Alliance’s petition for reconsideration of the hours-of-service final rule. CVSA’s petition requested that the agency amend the final rule to clarify if the adverse driving conditions provision can be combined with the short-haul exemption, set a daily maximum distance or time limit for the use of personal conveyance, and rescind or update exemptions that are no longer needed or accurate as a result of the changes in the final rule. FMCSA stated that clarifying the use of the adverse driving condition provision with the short-haul exemption was unnecessary, changes related to the personal conveyance guidance are outside of the scope of the rule and that updates to existing exemptions do not require regulatory action.

CVSA Asks Senator McConnell and Secretary Chao to Support COVID-19 Relief for States
On Sept. 2, 2020, CVSA sent letters to both Senator McConnell and Secretary Chao encouraging the inclusion of the Motor Carrier Safety Grant Relief Act of 2020, S. 3729 in the next COVID-19 relief package. The bill provides states with an extra year to spend their commercial motor vehicle safety and enforcement grants for fiscal 2019 and 2020 and gives FMCSA the authority to redistribute any unspent grant funds for those years. The letters outline the need for this additional flexibility for state commercial motor vehicle safety enforcement agencies impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as they return to normal operations.

CVSA Submits Comments on NHTSA ADS Testing Information Collection
On Aug. 28, 2020, CVSA submitted comments to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on a proposed information collection on the testing of automated driving systems (ADS). The information collection would seek voluntary information from companies that are testing ADS technology on public roads, and state and local governments that have implemented ADS testing regulations. CVSA supports the collection of this information to assist in better understanding the testing practices that are being implemented.

CVSA Responds to Letter Regarding International Roadcheck
On Aug. 25, 2020, CVSA sent a letter to the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) responding to concerns about proceeding with the rescheduled International Roadcheck enforcement campaign. TIA sent CVSA a letter asking that the 2020 International Roadcheck event be further delayed or canceled this year in order to avoid disruptions to the supply chain. CVSA’s response letter outlined the benefits of International Roadcheck to commercial motor vehicle safety and explained that the decision to reschedule was made in consultation with the CVSA membership and the enforcement campaign would continue as scheduled, Sept. 9-11.

CVSA Submits Comments on PLCA Hours of Service Exemption Request
On Aug. 21, 2020, CVSA submitted comments to FMCSA on an exemption request from the Pipe Line Contractors Association (PLCA) seeking to exempt drivers of its member companies from various hours-of-service requirements. PLCA requested that drivers of its member companies be exempt from the requirement to return to their work reporting location to qualify for the short-haul exemption, the requirement that drivers use electronic logging devices if they have to complete a record of duty status eight days in a 30-day period and the 70 hours in eight-day maximum. CVSA opposes the exemption request, due to its potential negative impact on safety and increased risk of fatigue.