Regulatory Updates – March 31, 2017

Update on Relevant U.S. Regulations

PHMSA Issues Final Rule on Hazardous Materials Harmonization with International Standards
On March 30, 2017, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a final rule to amend the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) by making changes to shipping names, hazard classes, packing groups, special provisions, packaging authorizations, air transport quantity limitations and vessel stowage requirements. These revisions aim to harmonize the HMR with recent changes made to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code, the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air and the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods – Model Regulations. The rule is effective March 30, 2017.

FMCSA Announces Household Goods Working Group Public Meeting
On March 29, 2017, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced the second Household Goods (HHG) Working Group meeting will take place May 2-4. The group provides recommendations on educating and protecting HHG consumers who require interstate moves. Attendance is open to the public.

FMCSA Solicits Comments on Driver Training Certifications
On March 27, 2017, FMCSA announced plans to submit an information collection request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) relating to the qualification of drivers to operate longer combination vehicles. The ICR is an extension of a currently approved information collection. Comments are due by April 26, 2017.

FMCSA Seeks Input on Accident Recordkeeping Requirements
On March 22, 2017, FMCSA announced plans to submit an ICR to OMB. The request asks for an extension of the ICR concerning the requirement that motor carriers maintain an accident record. Comments are due by May 22, 2017.

FMCSA Requests Information on Revocation of Authority
Also on March 22, 2017, FMCSA issued a notice of its plan to submit an ICR to OMB related to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) goal of enabling motor carriers to request revocation of operating authority by voluntarily identifying themselves to FMCSA. Comments are due by May 22, 2017.

FMCSA Seeks Comments on CDL Skills Test Delays
On March 21, 2017, FMCSA announced plans to submit an ICR to OMB. The ICR collects data on delays that commercial driver’s license (CDL) applicants face when scheduling a skills test. Comments are due by April 20, 2017.

FMCSA Delays Entry-Level Driver Training Rule
Also on March 21, 2017, FMCSA issued a notice delaying the effective date of the final rule creating minimum training standards for individuals who apply for a CDL, want to upgrade their CDL, or apply for certain endorsements such as hazardous materials, passenger carriers or school buses. The effective date of the final rule is delayed until May 22, 2017.

Update on Exemptions

TRALA Requests ELD Exemption
On March 22, 2017, FMCSA announced that the Truck Renting and Leasing Association Inc. (TRALA) requested an exemption from the requirement to install and use electronic logging devices (ELD) before Dec. 18, 2017. TRALA cited unintended technical and operational effects on short-term rental vehicles as reasons for its request. Comments are due by April 21, 2017.

FMCSA Grants ACPA 30-Minute Rest Break Exemption
On March 21, 2017, FMCSA announced that it granted an exemption from hours-of-service (HOS) regulations to the American Concrete Pumping Association (ACPA). The exemption allows all concrete pump operators, companies and drivers who operate concrete pumps to count on-duty time while attending equipment but are performing no other work-related activities toward the 30-minute rest break provision of the HOS regulations. The exemption is effective March 21, 2017-March 21, 2019.

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

President Trump Releases Budget Blueprint
On March 16, 2017, the Trump Administration released its budget request for fiscal 2018 which contains budget priorities for the DOT. While the proposal anticipates cuts for transportation programs, this is only the first step in a longer appropriations process and will likely see significant modifications during budget development and debate in Congress. Both Republicans and Democrats have raised concerns regarding the proposed cuts.