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Regulatory Updates – Jan. 22, 2016

Update on Relevant U.S. Regulations

FMCSA Releases Safety Fitness Determination Proposal

On January 21, 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released the text of the agency’s Safety Fitness Determination proposal. In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), FMCSA aims to establish new methods for a motor carrier to be proposed unfit. Comments are due March 21, 2016.

According to the announcement, significant changes are:

  • There would no longer be three safety ratings: satisfactory, conditional or unsatisfactory. Rather, there would only be one safety rating: “unfit.”
  • Carriers would be assessed monthly, using fixed failure measures that are identified in the NPRM. Stricter standards would be used for those BASICS with a higher correlation to crash risk: Unsafe Driving and Hours of Service Compliance.
  • Violations of a revised list of “critical” and “acute” safety regulations would result in failing a BASIC.
  • All investigation results would be used, not just from comprehensive on-site reviews.
  • A carrier could be proposed unfit by failing two or more BASICs through:
    • Inspections
    • Investigation results
    • A combination of both

CVSA Summary

CVSA has prepared a summary of the proposal.

PHMSA Issues Final Rule Regarding Special Permits

On January 21, 2016, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a Final Rule amending the Hazardous Materials Regulations to adopt provisions contained in certain widely-used or long-standing special permits that have an established safety record. The adopted amendments are intended to provide wider access to the regulatory flexibility offered in special permits and eliminate the need for numerous renewal requests. The adopted amendments will also reduce paperwork burdens and facilitate commerce while maintaining an appropriate level of safety. The Final Rule is effective February 22, 2016, with compliance required beginning January 23, 2017.

FMCSA Announces UCR Board Meeting

On January 14, 2016, 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 Unified Carrier Registration Plan and Agreement. The meeting is open to the public and will be held on February 2, 2016.

DOT Update on Significant Rulemakings

On January 18, 2016, DOT published its monthly Report on DOT Significant Rulemakings. The report included the following updates:

  • Safety Fitness Determination NPRM – published January 21, 2016.
  • CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Final Rule – publication has been delayed one month, from April 15, 2016 to May 13, 2016.
  • MAP-21 Enhancements to the Unified Registration System NPRM – publication is still scheduled for August 2, 2016.
  • FMCSA/NHTSA Joint Rule on Heavy Vehicle Speed Limiters – publication has been delayed two and a half months, from December 3, 2015, to February 15, 2016.
  • Entry-Level Driver Training NPRM – publication had been delayed five weeks, from December 28, 2015, to February 9, 2016.
  • State Inspection Programs for Passenger Carrier Vehicles Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) – publication has been delayed four months, from January 29, 2016, to May 13, 2016.
  • Motorcoach Rollover Structural Integrity Final Rule – publication is still scheduled for May 21, 2016.
  • Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 150 – Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) Communication NPRM – publication has been delayed two weeks, from March 31, 2016, to April 18, 2016.

Other Items of Interest

CSA Safety Measurement System Returns to Public View

FMCSA has returned an updated CSA Safety Measurement System (SMS) to public view following recent changes required with the publication of the FAST Act. BASIC category scores for property-carrying motor carriers are no longer available for public view; however evaluative SMS information about passenger carriers are still available to the public. Freight carriers can view the own CSA SMS and other withheld information by logging into the system with their DOT-issued pin.

NTSB’s 2016 “Most Wanted List”

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released six recommendations on its 2016 Most Wanted List which included: reducing fatigue related accidents, promoting availability of collision avoidance technologies in highway vehicles, disconnecting drivers from distraction, ending impairment by vehicle operators, expanding medical fitness for truck drivers, and expanding the use of video and event recorders.

Update on Exemptions

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.