Tag Archives: Federal Register

FMCSA Investigates Driver Harrassment

You may remember, last September, that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was heartily smacked by the Federal Court of Appeals over its latest EOBR rule. That rule, which would have required carriers with problematic Hours-of-Service compliance histories to use an EOBR, was thrown out by the court which decided that FMCSA had not taken the issue of driver harassment seriously. The issue raised its head again last week as FMCSA attempted to resurrect the rule by conducting research into the driver harassment issue.

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When Does HOS Go Into Effect?

As the new hours of service regulations have now been revealed the immediate question is “When will they go into effect?” For most of the regulations, that is a fairly easy question to answer — usually 60 Days after the Final Rule is published in the Federal Register.

But this is Hours of Service — you didn’t think it would be that easy did you? Continue reading

There’s Still Time to Make Your Voice Heard in the Hours-of-Service Debate

In the history of the Transportation Ticker, no other issue has gotten our regular readers as fired up as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s current Hours-of-Service Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Thus far, the comments we’ve received on our blog posts carry the same messages as the 1,500 or so official comments posted to the Federal eRulemaking Portal. The vast majority of commenters are highly critical of FMCSA’s proposed changes, which include new limits for the 34-hour restart,mandatory breaks and the preference for a 10-hour driving limit. Many have even invited the federal rulemakers to sit in their cabs for a day to help them understand the life of the commercial motor vehicle operator.

If you have something to add to the Hours-of-Service debate, we encourage you to post an official comment to the Federal eRulemaking Portal before the comment period closes at 11:59 p.m. EST on February 28. You may not have the opportunity to take a federal official to work with you, but you do have a chance to educate them about the Hours-of-Service-related realities and challenges you face on the road. Continue reading

A Comment on Commenting

As you are probably aware, FMCSA has recently proposed a substantial rewrite of the hours-of-service (HOS) rules. Needless to say, this has caused a bit of a stir in the industry (does anything HOS-related not?). Here at the Transportation Ticker we’ve received a great deal of communication from readers either asking us to explain the new regs or simply to comment on them. While we love getting contact from our readers the only thing we can offer you is advice and a sympathetic ear. We can’t change the regulations or make sure that they are approved. Fortunately, YOU can. One of the many (many) perks of living in a democratic nation is the ability to influence policy. Therefore, if you feel strongly about the regulations (either for or against) we strongly encourage you to send your comments to FMCSA. (and then contact us, its cold and lonely up here in New England) Continue reading

Drivers, Industry Weigh In on HOS Proposal

In the week since the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Hours-of-Service Notice of Proposed Rulemaking hit the Federal Register, more than 160 comments have been posted to the Federal eRulemaking Portal. As expected, the vast majority of public submissions are highly critical of FMCSA’s proposed changes, which include new limits for the 34-hour restart, mandatory breaks and the preference for a 10-hour driving limit.

Many commenters argue that the proposed rules are confusing, unnecessary and a threat to productivity. Drivers, in particular, are worried that the new limits will make it increasingly difficult to make scheduled appointments, find safe parking and ultimately make ends meet. Continue reading

Hours-Of-Service Roulette: The Wheel Is Spinning, But What Are We Going To Get?

If everything goes to plan — and this is Hours-of-Service, so that’s a BIG if — we should expect to see an Hours-of-Service Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) on December 4 (Saturday). So what can we expect to see in it?

Well, that’s the million dollar question — the industry is rife with speculations. Take, for example, this article which shows that even the industry’s leading experts have been left in the dark as to what FMCSA is planning. However, as that article and host of others have noted FMCSA’s published analyses have repeatedly stated that eliminating the 11th hour would not be cost-effective.

It is therefore probably safe to assume that that conclusion has not changed and that the 11th hour will remain.

This is not likely to go over well with the industry which is divided pretty much down the center with drivers and safety advocates against the 11th hour and trade groups for it. The last Hours-of-Service NPRM received more than 50,000 comments. The next few months should be interesting. Especially as FMCSA has a court-ordered mandate to have new rules in place by July 26th 2011. Given the December publication date, the standard 60-90 days for comments plus 60-90 days to review comments, plus the time to publish the final rule (or even publish a new NPRM if necessary) AND implement the new rules, that’s a very tight time frame.

Conclusion: we’re in for a wild few months. We’ll keep you posted about any new regulations and (try) to keep you up to date with whatever phase the fight is in. Feel free to post your predictions in the comments box. We’d love to know what everyone is thinking…

This Week’s Fast-Fax:FMCSA Fixes Troublesome 2008 Medical Certificate Regulation Changes

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced in the May 21 Federal Register that it had updated a 2008 Medical Certificate regulation that had a number of errors. Most of these changes are minor; in several cases FMCSA did not include ‘or’s, or used opaque language to describe common terms like ‘medical examiner’s certificate’. However, FMCSA did clear up one area that could potentially cause problems.

To read more, click here

After Months of Delay, FMCSA Publishes 2010 Unified Carrier Registration Fees

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) finally issued the 2010 Unified Carrier Registration rates. The new rates, published in the Federal Register on April 27, are more than double the 2007-2009 registration fees, but less than the Unified Carrier Registration Board’s original proposal.

The 2010 UCR Fee Schedule and important details about UCR compliance and enforcement are featured in this week’s DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-Fax. More information about Fast-Fax – the weekly newsletter written especially for busy motor carriers and safety managers – is available here.

Federal Drug Tests Remain Five-Panel, For Now

In today’s Federal Register, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it was delaying changes to the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs until October 1, 2010. The changes, which were originally scheduled to go into effect on May 1, 2010, include:

  • Adding MDMA, commonly referred to as Ecstasy, to the list of drugs to be tested for.
  • Looking for common MDMA variants during confirmatory testing.
  • Conducting initial testing for 6-Acetymorphines, a common derivative of Heroin.
  • Lowering the initial and confirmatory cut-off levels for amphetamines and cocaine.
  • Allowing employers to choose between Instrumental Initial Test Facilities (IITFs) and full-service laboratories. IITFs will only be able to provide negative and negative dilute results and identify specimens that are rejected for testing.

HHS said the delay was necessary to give the Department of Transportation (DOT) time to issue a Final Rule that mirrors the new HHS Guidelines. The DOT is currently sifting through comments submitted in response to its February 4th Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to revise its drug and alcohol testing procedures to bring them in line with HHS’s revision. The delay is meant to eliminate the cost and confusion that would inevitably result from forcing employers and the industry to comply with two different standards.

In the Federal Register announcement, HHS hinted that another delay is possible. “DOT’s rule is expected to issue in time to go into effect by October 1, 2010; however, should it later appear that DOT regulations may not issue in time for an October 1, 2010 implementation, SAMHSA will undertake notice and comment rulemaking to delay the effective date further,” agency officials wrote.