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Regulatory Updates – Feb. 19, 2016

Update on Relevant U.S. Regulations

FMCSA Compliance Testing Procedures Notice and Request for Comment

On February 17, 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced its plan to submit an Information Collection Request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for its review and approval, and invites public comment. The agency proposes to increase its estimate of the total information collection burden pertaining to the qualification of operators of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) because both the number of CMV drivers and the frequency of their hiring have increased since the agency’s 2012 estimate of this burden. Comments are due April 18, 2016.

FMCSA Information Collection Request Notice and Request for Comment

On February 17, 2016, FMCSA announced its plan to submit the ICR described below to the OMB for its review and approval and invites public comment. The collection involves an extension to a currently-approved ICR, and includes the assessment of FMCSA’s strategic decision to integrate its Information Technology (IT) with its business processes using portal technology to consolidate its systems and databases through the FMCSA Information Technology Services Survey modernization initiative. The information to be collected will be used to assess the satisfaction of Federal, State, and industry customers with the FMCSA Information Technology Services Survey Portal. The name of the “COMPASS Portal Customer Satisfaction Assessment,” ICR was previously changed to “Information Technology Services Survey Portal Customer Satisfaction Assessment,” to reflect the need for a broader term than “COMPASS” for the portal. On October 27, 2015, FMCSA published a Federal Register notice allowing for a 60-day comment period on this ICR. The agency received no comments in response to that notice. Comments are due March 18, 2016.

FMCSA to Hold Public Listening Session on ELDs

On February 17, 2016, FMCSA announced it will hold a public online listening session on February 25, 2016, concerning the electronic logging device (ELD) compliance test procedures. This meeting will be a forum for providers of ELDs to give feedback to the agency on the non-binding procedures used to determine if an ELD meets the specifications of the ELD rulemaking published on December 16, 2015. This online meeting is open to the public.

FMCSA Request for Comment on the Definition of a Curbside Bus Operator

On February 10, 2016, FMCSA announced a request for comments relating to the implementation of a specific provision in section 32707 of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) that requires an annual safety fitness assessment of certain motor carriers of passengers that serve primarily urban areas with high passenger loads. FMCSA requests comments about an appropriate definition of a “curbside bus operator” that will be subject to this annual safety fitness assessment and will be consistent with Congressional intent. Comments are due April 11, 2016.

NHTSA Publishes Final Rule on FMVSS Side Marker Requirements

On February 8, 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published its final ruleamending the side marker requirements contained in the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) on lamps, reflective devices and associated equipment for vehicles 80 inches or more in width and less than 30 feet long. This final rule adopts the amendments proposed in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), published on December 4, 2012. These amendments will restore the side marker photometry requirements for motor vehicles under 30 feet in length that were in place prior to the 2007 final rule that reorganized the standard. Restoration of the side marker requirements will have no negative impact on safety or function and will allow motor vehicle manufacturers to avoid unnecessary modifications to their side marker lamps with no added safety or functional benefit. Petitions for reconsideration to the final rule must be received before March 24, 2016. This rule is effective August 8, 2016, with an option for early compliance.

DOT Update on Significant Rulemakings

On February 16, 2016, DOT published its monthly Report on DOT Significant Rulemakings. The report included the following updates:

  • CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Final Rule – publication has been delayed just over one month, from May 13, 2016 to June 17, 2016.
  • MAP-21 Enhancements to the Unified Registration System NPRM – publication has been delayed five months, from August 2, 2016, to January 18, 2017.
  • FMCSA/NHTSA Joint Rule on Heavy Vehicle Speed Limiters – publication has been delayed one month, from February 15, 2016, to March 15, 2016.
  • Entry-Level Driver Training NPRM – publication is still scheduled for February 9, 2016.
  • State Inspection Programs for Passenger Carrier Vehicles Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) – publication has been delayed three weeks, from May 13, 2016, to June 6, 2016.
  • Motorcoach Rollover Structural Integrity Final Rule – publication has been delayed one and a half months, from May 21, 2016, to July 6, 2016.

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 150 – Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) Communication NPRM – publication is still scheduled for April 18, 2016.

Update on Exemptions

FMCSA Requests for Comments on Exemption Application from Farruggio’s Express

On February 12, 2016 FMCSA announced that it had received an application from Farruggio’s Express (Farruggio) for an exemption from timecard requirements for its drivers who may not meet all of the conditions for utilization of the 100 air-mile radius log book exemption in that section. The request would exempt Farruggio’s drivers who stay within the 100 air-mile radius, but may occasionally exceed the 12 hour limitation, from having to complete a daily record of duty status (RODS). Farruggio states that its entire fleet of CMVs is equipped with Global Positioning System (GPS) vehicle tracking devices, which it believes justifies the request for this exemption and provides an equivalent or greater level of safety than would be obtained by complying with the regulations. FMCSA requests public comment on Farruggio’s application for exemption. Comments are due March 14, 2016.

FMCSA Grants TowMate, LLC Exemption for Use of Rechargeable Wireless Stop, Turn, and Tail Lighting Systems

On February 10, 2016, FMCSA announced its decision to grant TowMate, LLC’s application for a limited two-year exemption to allow motor carriers to operate rechargeable wireless temporary stop, turn, and tail lighting systems during temporary towing operations. Under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), all required lamps, with the exception of battery-powered lamps used on projecting loads, must be powered by the electrical system of the motor vehicle. The agency has determined that use of rechargeable wireless temporary stop, turn, and tail lighting systems during temporary towing operations would not have an adverse impact on safety, and use of these systems under the terms and conditions of the exemption would achieve a level of safety equivalent to or greater than the level of safety provided by the regulation. This decision is consistent with an August 2005 amendment to the FMCSRs to allow battery powered lamps on the rear of projecting loads. The exemption is effective February 9, 2016 – February 9, 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

CVSA Expresses Concern Over Growing Number of FMCSA Exemptions

On February 18, 2016, CVSA sent a letter to FMCSA commenting on the number of exemptions FMCSA has granted over the past year. The growing number of exemptions puts the burden on inspectors to ensure that all active exemptions are being followed properly. This, in turn, burdens training agencies which are tasked with informing inspectors of new exemptions, ensuring each inspector properly understands the exemption, as well as how to apply the exemption. The issuance of such a large number of exemptions thereby reduces the effectiveness of the roadside inspector and decreases the likelihood of achieving a level of safety equivalent to, or greater than, the level that is expected by the current regulation.

CVSA Sends Letter to AAMVA and NLETS Regarding Data Quality Issue

Also on February 18, 2016, CVSA sent a joint letter to the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (NLETS) and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) requesting that the organizations work together to address the disconnect between the information contained within the Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS) and NLETS. On Wednesday, April 27, 2016, CVSA and AAMVA will hold a joint session between the CVSA Driver-Traffic Enforcement Committee and the AAMVA CDL Coordinators at the 2016 CVSA Workshop in Chicago, IL, to further discuss this issue.

CVSA Asks NTSB to Close Safety Recommendation H-09-046

On February 18, 2016, CVSA sent a letter to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) requesting to close safety recommendation H-09-046. This recommendation stems from a request CVSA received on December 29, 2009, from NTSB requesting that CVSA make operating a motorcoach that is not compliant with the Federal Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) an out-of-service (OOS) condition.

President’s FY 2017 Budget Request for FMCSA

On February 10, 2016, FMCSA released its fiscal year (FY) 2017 Budget Request of $794.2 million. This request includes funding for operations and grants and will enable FMCSA to supplement its programs with the resources necessary to strengthen safety operations and supplement increases in safety grants mandated by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act).

DOT Releases Report on DSRC to Congress

The U.S. Department of Transportation released its report to Congress concerning the status of dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) for vehicle technologies. The report came as part of the MAP-21 requirements. The report assessed potential gaps, opportunities for use in connected vehicles, a path toward implementation, as well as the current status of such technologies.