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Regulatory Updates – Nov. 10, 2016

Update on Relevant U.S. Regulations

FMCSA Seeks Comment on Hazardous Materials Safety Permits

On Nov. 10, 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. The collection is an extension of an existing ICR titled “Hazardous Materials Safety Permits” and requires companies with safety permits to develop communications plans that track shipments as well as keep records of such shipments for six months, either physically or electronically. Comments are due by Jan. 10, 2017.

NHTSA and FMCSA Extends Speed Limiter Comment Period

On Nov. 7, 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and FMCSA issued a 30-day extension of the comment period for the speed limiter proposed rule, which would require vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds to be equipped with a speed limiter. Comments are now due by Dec. 7, 2016.

NHTSA Announces Automated Vehicles Meeting

Also on Nov. 7, 2016, NHTSA announced it would conduct a public meeting to seek input on the recently released automated vehicles policy. The policy is agency guidance that provides a regulatory framework for manufacturers in the design, development and testing of autonomous vehicles. Attendance is open to the public.

DOT Corrects Notice on Advisory Committee on Automation in Transportation

On Nov. 1, 2016, the Department of Transportation (DOT) published a correction to its Oct. 1 notice establishing an Advisory Committee on Automation in Transportation (ACAT). The correction extends the deadline for nominations to the committee to Nov. 16, 2016 and amends the original notice by permitting candidates who already serve on a federal advisory committee to also serve on ACAT.

Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Rule Nears Publication

A final rule to establish a commercial driver’s license (CDL) drug and alcohol clearinghouse is scheduled to be published Nov. 23, 2016 in the “Federal Register”. The rule cleared OMB on Oct. 31, 2016. The rulemaking will establish a database of CDL holders who have failed or refused to take a drug test and requires carriers to report failures and refusals to FMCSA. Prospective employers have the ability to check the clearinghouse before hiring an applicant.

Update on Exemptions

FMCSA Grants Exemption Request from the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association

On Nov. 1, 2016, FMCSA announced its decision to partially grant an application for exemption from the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association (SC&RA). The agency granted SC&RA’s application for an exemption from the 30-minute rest break requirement of hours-of-service (HOS) regulations and denied SC&RA’s request for exemption from the 14-hour driving window of the HOS rules. The exemption is effective Nov. 1, 2016–Nov. 1, 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

Electronic Logging Device Mandate Upheld in Court

On Oct. 31, 2016, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the FMCSA final rule requiring the use of electronic logging devices (ELDs) on all post-2000 model-year commercial motor vehicles. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) filed a lawsuit to overturn the mandate but the court ruled against the argument that the ELD rule violates truck drivers’ Fourth Amendment right to privacy. The ELD rule takes effect Dec. 18, 2017.

Large Carriers Petition FMCSA to Allow Hair Testing

On Oct. 28, 2016, the Trucking Alliance, a group representing large carriers, submitted a petition to FMCSA asking for an exemption allowing trucking companies to use a hair sample rather than urinalysis to satisfy regulations requiring pre-employment drug testing. The FAST Act contained a provision which authorizes hair testing as an alternative drug testing methodology but only after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issues guidelines for such tests. The deadline for finalizing the guidelines is Dec. 5, 2016, one year after FAST Act’s enactment.