Update on Relevant U.S. Regulations
FMCSA Issues Final Rule in Response to CVSA, ATA and NTSB Petitions
On July 22, 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a final rule to amend the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) in response to several petitions for rulemaking from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) and the American Trucking Associations (ATA), and two safety recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Specifically, FMCSA adds a definition of “major tread groove” and an illustration to indicate the location of tread wear indicators or wear bars on a tire signifying a major tread groove; revises the rear license plate lamp requirement to eliminate the requirement for an operable rear license plate lamp on vehicles when there is no rear license plate present; amends the regulations regarding tires to prohibit the operation of a vehicle with speed-restricted tires at speeds that exceed the rated limit of the tire; provides specific requirements regarding when violations or defects noted on an inspection report must be corrected; amends two appendixes to the FMCSRs to include provisions for the inspection of antilock braking systems (ABS) and automatic brake adjusters, speed-restricted tires, and motorcoach passenger seat mounting anchorages; amends the periodic inspection rules to eliminate the option for a motor carrier to satisfy the annual inspection requirement through a violation-free roadside inspection; and amends the inspector qualification requirements as a result of the amendments to the periodic inspection rules. In addition, FMCSA eliminates introductory regulatory text from an appendix to the FMCSRs because the discussion of the differences between the North American Standard Inspection out-of-service criteria and FMCSA’s periodic inspection criteria is unnecessary. The final rule is effective July 22, 2016.
FMCSA Amends Regulatory Guidance Concerning Periodic Inspection of CMVs
On July 22, 2016, FMCSA announced an amendment to regulatory guidance regarding the periodic inspection of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). FMCSA announced an amendment to the FMCSRs to, among other things, eliminate the option for a motor carrier to satisfy the periodic (annual) inspection requirement through a violation-free roadside inspection. As a result of this amendment to the FMCSRs, certain regulatory guidance is amended to ensure consistency between the FMCSRs and the published guidance. The regulatory guidance is effective July 22, 2016.
FMCSA Issues Final Rule to Implement Eight Provisions of the FAST Act
On July 21, 2016, FMCSA issued a final rule to adopt various regulations required by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act). The statutory changes went into effect on Oct. 1, 2015, retroactively, and require that FMCSA make conforming changes to its regulations to ensure they are current and consistent with the statutory requirements. The final rule implements the following FAST Act provisions, and is effective July 22, 2016.
- Section 5206 – Applications for Exemptions (extends time frame of an exemption from two years to five years)
- Section 5507 – Electronic Logging Device Requirements (for recreational vehicle operators)
- Section 5518 – Covered Farm Vehicles
- Section 5519 – Operators of Hi-Rail Vehicles
- Section 5521 – Ready Mix Concrete Delivery Vehicles
- Section 5522 – Transportation of Construction Materials and Equipment
- Section 5524 – Exemptions from Requirements for Certain Welding Trucks Used in Pipeline Industry
- Section 7208 – Hazardous Materials Endorsement Exemption
UCR Board Meeting Announced
On July 21, 2016, FMCSA announced that the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) Plan Board of Directors will be meeting on Aug. 11, 2016. The meeting is open to the public via conference call.
FMCSA Announces three-month extension of URS Effective Date
On July 20, 2016, FMCSA announced it will be delaying the final stage of the Unified Registration System (URS). The rule will now be effective Jan. 14, 2017, with a new full compliance date of April 14, 2017. FMCSA is currently updating its information technology systems and undertaking a complex migration of millions of records to remote storage servers. This work will provide FMCSA and its state partners a foundation to successfully launch the final stage of URS.
DOT Update on Significant Rulemakings
On July 18, 2016, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) published its monthly report on significant rulemakings. The report included the following updates:
- Map-21 Enhancements to the Unified Registration System (URS) NPRM – Publication has been delayed three months, from Jan. 18, 2017, to April 19, 2017.
- CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Final Rule – Publication is still scheduled for Aug. 29, 2016.
- FMCSA/NHTSA Joint Rule on Heavy-Vehicle Speed Limiters – Publication has been delayed from spring 2016, to summer 2016.
- Motorcoach Rollover Structural Integrity Final Rule – Publication has been delayed two months, from Nov. 3, 2016, to Jan. 3, 2017.
- Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 150 – Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) Communication NPRM – Publication has been delayed two months, from June 18, 2016, to Aug. 26, 2016.
PHMSA Dismissal of ATA Application for Determination of Preemption
On July 12, 2016, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) announced its dismissal of an application for a determination of preemption. ATA filed the application in reference to the city of Pittsburgh’s permit and permit fee requirements. PHMSA has determined these permit and permit fee requirements are not being applied or enforced. In the future, if the permit and permit fee requirements are ever applied and enforced, ATA may again submit an application for a preemption determination.
FMCSA Crash Weighting Analysis Notice and Response to Public Comments
On July 12, 2016, FMCSA announced its response to public comments on the results of its study on the feasibility of using a motor carrier’s role in crashes in the assessment of the company’s safety. Based on the feedback received in response to the Jan. 23, 2015, “Federal Register” notice, FMCSA conducted additional analysis to improve the effectiveness of the Crash Indicator Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC). In addition, FMCSA will now develop and implement a demonstration program to determine the efficacy of a program to conduct preventability determinations on certain types of crashes that generally are less complex.
FMCSA Crash Preventability Program Request for Comments
On July 12, 2016, FMCSA announced a request for comment on a proposal to develop and implement a demonstration program to determine the efficacy of a program to conduct preventability determinations on certain types of crashes that generally are less complex. Comments are due by Sept. 12, 2016.
PHMSA Publishes Update on Special Permits
On July 11, 2016, PHMSA published updates on special permit applications:
FMCSA Extension of ICR Driver Qualification Collection and Request for Comment
On July 11, 2016, FMCSA announced a request for comment on a notice that first appeared on Feb. 17, 2016. In that notice FMCSA announced an increase in the estimate of the total information-collection
(IC) burden of the driver qualification regulations. The notice explained that FMCSA’s regulations had not changed, but FMCSA was increasing its estimate of the IC burden to 9.8 million hours because both the population of CMV drivers and the frequency of their hiring had increased. FMCSA has further increases its burden estimate to 10.21 million hours in response to a comment received to that notice. Comments are due by Aug. 10, 2016.
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.
Other Items of Interest
Senate Confirms Presidential Nominations
On July 15, 2016, the Senate confirmed multiple Presidential nominations which included Mr. Scott Darling. Mr. Darling was first nominated by the President on Aug. 5, 2015, and was unanimously confirmed to serve as Administrator of FMCSA.