Regulatory Updates – April 15, 2016

Update on Relevant U.S. Regulations

FMCSA Announces UCR Board Meeting

On April 15, 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a notice announcing a meeting of the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) Plan Board of Directors. The board will continue its work in developing and implementing the UCR plan and agreement. The meeting is open to the public and will be held on May 12, 2016.

FMCSA Issues Safety Advisory for the Immediate Re-inspection and Retesting of Certain Cargo Tank Motor Vehicles

On April 15, 2016, FMCSA issued a safety advisory to provide notice to owners and operators of certain cargo tanks that they have been improperly inspected and tested, and must be re-inspected and retested before being used in hazardous materials specification tank service.

The tanks in question were tested by H&W Tank Testing (CT#8083; Ohatchee, Alabama) and Christopher Humphries (CT#13131; Jacksonville, Alabama).  Cargo tanks that have been inspected and/or tested by either company from April 2011 through March 2016 must be re-inspected and/or retested immediately by a cargo tank facility registered with FMCSA. Owners and operators with questions are directed to contact FMCSA’s hazardous materials division.

NHTSA Announces Public Meeting on Automated Vehicles

On April 15, 2016, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced its second public meeting to seek input on planned guidelines for the safe deployment and operation of automated vehicles. The intent of the operational guidance is to encourage innovative and safe deployment of automated vehicle technologies. At this meeting, NHTSA is seeking public input on those aspects of automated vehicle systems that would benefit from operational guidelines and aspects of automated vehicle technology that may not be suitable or ready for guidelines, as well as alternative approaches to ensure safety. The meeting will be held April 27, 2016, in Stanford, California. The meeting will also be webcast live.

PHMSA Publishes Update on Special Permits

On April 14, 2016, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published updates on special permit applications:

NHTSA Denies Petition for Reconsideration of the Definition of “Over-the-Road-Bus”

On April 6, 2016, NHTSA announced its decision to deny petitions for reconsideration submitted by bus manufacturers IC Bus, LLC (IC Bus), Daimler Trucks North America (Daimler Trucks) and Prevost, concerning a Nov. 25, 2013, final rule requiring seat belts on large buses. IC Bus and Daimler Trucks petitioned to modify the definition of “over-the-road bus” specified in the final rule. NHTSA is denying these petitions because any change to the definition may serve to reduce the standard’s applicability, contrary to Congressional and NHTSA intent, and the definition of “over-the-road bus” is sufficiently clear.

Update on Exemptions

Missouri DOR Exemption Request from the Commercial Driver’s License Standards

On April 11, 2016, the FMCSA announced it had received an application from the Missouri Department on Revenue (DOR) for a limited exemption from the agency’s commercial driver’s license (CDL) regulations. These regulations allow a State to waive the CDL skills test for applicants regularly employed or previously employed within the last 90 days in a military position requiring operation of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). The Missouri DOR proposes that it be allowed to extend the 90-day timeline to one year following the driver’s separation from military service. The Missouri DOR believes the 90-day timeframe is too short to take advantage of the waiver for many of the qualified discharged veterans reentering and settling into civilian life. Comments are due May 11, 2016.

Oregon DOT Exemption Request from the Commercial Learners Permit Requirements

On April 5, 2016, FMCSA announced its decision to grant the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) a limited exemption from the commercial learner’s permit (CLP) requirement. All State Driver’s Licensing Agencies (SDLAs) are allowed to use this exemption at their discretion. The exemption will allow ODOT and participating SDLAs to extend to one year the 180-day timeline for the CLP from the date of issuance, without requiring the CLP holder to retake the general and endorsement knowledge tests. Under the exemption, an applicant wishing to have a new CLP after the previous one expires will be required to take all applicable tests before a new CLP is issued. The exemption is effective April 5, 2016, to April 5, 2018.

CVSA Active Exemption Tracker

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

Other Items of Interest

FMCSA Forms MCSAP Working Group

On April 8, 2016, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced the formation of its Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) Formula Working Group. The formation of this working group was federally mandated under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. FMCSA received 29 applications in total. This working group will analyze the requirements and factors necessary for establishing a new allocation formula for the MCSAP, which funds state CMV enforcement programs, compliance investigations, roadside inspections, new entrant audits and traffic enforcement activities.