Update on Relevant U.S. Regulations
FMCSA Information Collection Activities
On Oct. 14, 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued three notices regarding its information collection activities. Comments are due by Dec. 13, 2016.
- Streamlining Identification and Registration Systems – FMCSA plans to modify the unified registration system (URS) to streamline the current registration process, allowing more efficient tracking of commercial motor carriers (CMVs), freight forwarders and brokers.
- Training Certification for Drivers of Longer Combination Vehicles – FMCSA requests approval to renew the information collection request for drivers to be certified to operate longer combination vehicles (LCVs). Motor carriers who employ an LCV driver must verify compliance with minimum training requirements and must maintain a copy of the LCV training certificate.
- Unified Registration System – FMCSA requests an extension of a currently approved information collection into motor carriers that are registered for and maintain their operating authority registrations with the Department of Transportation (DOT).
FMCSA Issues Rule to Implement FAST Act Grant Program Changes
On Oct. 14, 2016, FMCSA issued a final rule making changes required by the FAST Act. This includes the new requirement that states participate in the Performance and Registration Information Systems Management (PRISM) program as a condition of receiving funding under the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP). The final rule is effective Oct. 14, 2016
FMCSA Announces MCSAC and MRB Meetings
On Oct. 14, 2016, FMCSA also announced a joint meeting of the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) and Medical Review Board (MRB) on Oct. 24-25, 2016. MCSAC and MRB will receive an update on the Driver Health and Wellness Initiative and MRB will give recommendations on obstructive sleep apnea. The meetings are open to the public.
FMCSA Issues Rule to Assist Military Personnel in Obtaining CDLs
On Oct. 13, 2016, FMCSA issued a final rule making it easier for military personnel with CMV experience to obtain a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) or commercial driver’s license (CDL). This rule is the result of a mandate in the FAST Act that exempts former military personnel from the CDL test if they have prior CMV driving experience. The final rule is effective Dec. 12, 2016.
PHMSA Proposes Revisions to Hazardous Materials Grants Requirements
On Oct. 11, 2016, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) with revisions to the hazardous materials grants program, incorporating new requirements included in the FAST Act. The changes also include the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) uniform administrative requirements, cost principles and audit requirements for federal awards. Comments are due by Dec. 12, 2016.
PHMSA Removes PG II Designation for Organic Peroxides and Self-Reactive Substances
On Oct. 7, 2016, PHMSA issued guidance clarifying the agency’s final rule from June 2, 2016, “Hazardous Materials: Miscellaneous Amendments.” Effective July 5, 2016, the PG II designation is no longer required in the shipping description for organic peroxides or self-reactive substances. Approval holders impacted by the removal of the PG II designation may either submit a request for modification to remove the PG II designation from their approval or continue to use their current approval until the expiration date and request removal at that time.
DOT Requests Comments on Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria
Also on Oct. 7, 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in collaboration with the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and FMCSA has initiated a review of the Guidelines for the Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria (MMUCC), Fourth Edition. The MMUCC provides states with a dataset for describing crashes that improves highway safety within each state. Crash data users and other interested stakeholders are invited to comment on the current MMUCC guidelines, the proposed changes to MMUCC and any additional suggested changes for the next edition. Comments are due by Oct. 28, 2016.
FMCSA Announces Additional Enhancements to the Safety Measurement System
On Oct. 5, 2016, FMCSA announced a set of proposed changes to its Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program including increasing the minimum number of crashes needed for determining whether a carrier receives a score in the Crash Indicator BASIC and assigning BASIC percentile ratings only to carriers that have had an inspection with a violation in the past 12 months rather than within the current 24-month period. The information regarding the proposed enhancements has been provided to the National Academies of Sciences in their ongoing study of CSA mandated by the FAST Act. Comments are due by Dec. 3, 2016.
FMCSA Publishes Technical Amendments to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations
On Oct. 4, 2016, FMCSA issued a final rule making technical corrections to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). These include removing “common” and “contract” from the statutory text as mandated by SAFETEA-LU and ICCTA, and merging separate classifications of common and contract carriers into a single classification of “motor carrier.” The changes are intended to alert exempt motor carriers, and allow motor carriers and shippers to negotiate the terms of their contracts if they wish to establish rights and remedies different from general motor carrier rights and remedies. The rule was effective Sept. 30, 2016.
Update on Exemptions
FMCSA Addresses Definition of Utility Service Vehicles
On Sept. 23, 2016, FMCSA issued its response to a letter from the National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) requesting guidance on broadband/wireless services as a utility when considering the hours-of-service (HOS) exemption for utility service vehicles in 47 CFR 395.1. Specifically, FMCSA clarified that broadband internet and wireless services are considered a utility and are therefore covered by the HOS exemption.
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
Mandated Use of Electronic Logging Devices Top Trucking Industry Concerns
In its annual trucking industry issues report released Oct. 3, 2016, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) revealed that the upcoming implementation of electronic logging devices (ELDs) was at the top of the list of industry concerns. HOS and the cumulative economic impacts of trucking regulations rounded out the top three critical industry issues. The full list was unveiled at the American Trucking Associations’ annual conference of motor carrier executives.