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April Significant Rulemaking Report
Mariah Barr
7 mins read

April showers bring May flowers, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) continues to bring new updates and initiatives to our attention. Here’s what this month had to offer: 

  • Mouth swab drug testing commentary deadline extended 
  • International Roadcheck is less than a month away 
  • Truck Leasing Task Force organized; applications being accepted 
  • FMCSA responds to under-21 apprenticeship program concerns 
  • FMCSA CSO discusses agenda and new rulemakings 

Extension to Saliva Drug Testing Commenting Period 

On Feb. 28, the DOT published a notice of proposed rulemaking to adjust the industry’s drug testing procedures. The proposal would allow federal agencies to use oral fluid specimens in lieu of urinalysis drug testing. The original deadline for public commentary on the proposal was March 30th, but it has been extended to April 29th. Over 160 comments have been filed to date. 

You can leave your own comment on the proposal here. 

Time is Running Out for Roadcheck Compliance 

It’s almost time for the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) annual International Roadcheck. The enforcement event lasts 72 hours and will take place from Tuesday, May 17th through Thursday, May 19th, 2022. CMV drivers across North America can expect inspectors to pull them over for on-the-spot inspections, which are meant to ensure driver and truck safety.

As you may be familiar with, the CVSA always picks a specific focus for this event. This year, inspectors will be closely checking wheel-end components, more specifically, the wheels, hubs, and tires on CMVs. According to the CVSA, “violations involving these components historically account for one-quarter of the vehicle out-of-service violations discovered during International Roadcheck.” 

Are you roadcheck ready? Take our free quiz! 

FMCSA Calls for Applicants to the Truck Leasing Task Force 

The FMCSA has announced the opening of Truck Leasing Task Force (TLTF) applications. The Task Force is an initiative mandated by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and a long-term effort of the White House’s Trucking Action Plan. The TLTF plans to evaluate the impacts of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) lease agreements and discuss the best methods of improving them.  

It has been determined that the TLTF will have 10 members representing labor organizations, motor carriers, consumer protection groups, legal professionals, owner-operators, and other relevant businesses. To apply, visit https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/tltf through Friday, May 6, 2022.  

The TLTF will investigate many areas related to truck leasing arrangements, such as predatory truck leasing agreements as defined by the DOL and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, agreements available to drayage drivers at ports, the impact of agreements on the net compensation of CMV drivers, and other potentially unjust factors. 

The above issues will be examined by the TLTF, and a final report will be submitted to FMCSA and the U.S. Department of Labor at a later date. 

FMCSA Responds to Comments on Apprenticeship Pilot Program 

As you probably know, the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program (SDAP) was put in place by the FMCSA on January 14th, 2022 to help with the ongoing driver shortage. It allows CDL holders ages 18-20 to drive CMVs across state lines everywhere in the U.S. except Hawaii. 

In addition to the industry’s initial reactions, the FMCSA requested commentary from industry stakeholders in January. The agency said it received 144 comments in total, and 102 of them were opposed to the program.  

The FMCSA responded to some of the concerns in a Federal Register notice asking the White House to renew the program. You can see the full list of recommendations and responses here. 

FMCSA CSO Presents Agency’s Upcoming Priorities 

Chief safety officer for the FMCSA, Jack Van Steenburg, recently laid out the agency’s agenda and planned rulemakings in a trucking industry presentation. 

He noted the BIL enacted last year requires the FMCSA to conduct the following: 

  • With the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a rulemaking to require automatic emergency braking on all new CMVs with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) over 26,000 lbs. 
  • A rule that sets uniform national standards for autonomous vehicles (a notice of proposed rulemaking is expected later this year). 
  • A study on how effective Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) are in improving hours of service compliance and reducing fatigue-related crashes. This study and report to Congress could be the basis for revisions to the ELD rule. 

The agency is also preparing two other rulemakings. Van Steenburg gave advance notice of a proposed rulemaking on revising the agency’s Safety Fitness Determination standards (the current Satisfactory, Conditional, and Unsatisfactory standards), as well as a proposal to revise the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program for identifying non-compliant or unsafe motor carriers. 

In addition, he discussed ongoing issues with implementing the agency’s final rule requiring the integration of the driver’s medical certificate into the CDL record. Despite the rule being issued back in 2015, its implementation is now delayed until 2025 due to problems connecting FMCSA databases with state driver licensing agencies (SDLAs).  

Managing driver files just got more complicated. Our automated solution can help.  

On a final important note, Van Steenburg shared there are about 83,000 drivers who have drug or alcohol violations reported in the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, but they have not completed the Return to Duty process, which technically means they cannot operate a CMV.

In the final rule establishing the Clearinghouse, however, the FMCSA failed to require SDLAs to automatically revoke or suspend a driver’s CDL when a violation is noted in the Clearinghouse database. The FMCSA recently compiled a follow-up rule that mandates states to cancel CDLs for drug or alcohol violations. All states have until November 2024 to adopt these requirements.  

See the complete Significant Rulemaking Report to keep up with the latest FMCSA announcements. 

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