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August 2019 Significant Rulemaking Report
Foley
6 mins read

AUGUST 22, 2019  –The big news out of Washington this month was the release of the FMCSA’s hours of service proposal, which aims to give drivers more flexibility in managing their on-duty and driving hours. If the proposal becomes law, drivers will see more flexibility around the 30-minute rest break, sleeper berth time, adverse conditions exemption and the short-haul exemption.

“This proposed rule seeks to enhance safety by giving America’s commercial drivers more flexibility while maintaining the safety limits on driving time,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in a statement.

One of the biggest proposed changes, is the ability for drivers to pause their 14-hour driving window for up to three hours during each shift, provided that the driver takes the required 10 hours off duty. The thought, is that it will allow drivers to better manage their time in the face of traffic issues, adverse weather conditions and detention times. To review the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking or leave a comment, please go here: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/08/23/2018-18379/hours-of-service-of-drivers

What else is going on in the FMCSA? Here’s a current rundown of pending regulations:

 Proposed FMCSA Rules

FMCSA Rule Summary Status
Application by Certain Mexico-Domiciled Motor Carriers to Operate Beyond U.S. Municipalities and Commercial Zones on the U.S.-Mexico Border The international agreement would change regulations that govern applications and would require additional information on the applicant’s business and operating practices. Undetermined. Delays attributed to unanticipated issues requiring further analysis.
MAP-21 Enhancements and Other Updates to the Unified Registration System Would implement several provisions of MAP-21 as they relate to the Unified Registration System. Would update and codify the agency’s procedures for granting, suspending, and revoking registration. The intent is to allow for greater uniformity, transparency, efficiency and predictability in those processes, according to the FMCSA. Undetermined. An NPRM was published on September 20, with comments accepted through November 22.
Consumer Complaint Information Would require carriers of household goods to submit quarterly reports of complaints received. Undetermined. Delays attributed to lack of resources and lack of staffing.
Financial Responsibility for Motor Carriers, Freight Forwarders, and Brokers Would increase minimum insurance requirements for freight and passenger motor carriers. ANPRM. The FMCSA accepted comments through the fall on several key regulatory issues related to this rule.
New Entrant Safety Assurance Process Would improve methods to ensure new applicant carriers are knowledgeable about safety requirements. Undetermined. Delays attributed to additional coordination needs.
Safety Monitoring System and Compliance Initiative for Mexico-Domiciled Motor Carriers Operating in the United States This international agreement would implement a system to evaluate the safety fitness of Mexico-domiciled carriers within 18 months of being granted authority to operate in the U.S. Would also establish suspension and revocation procedures. Undetermined. Delays attributed to unanticipated issues requiring further analysis.
Heavy Vehicle Speed Limiters This rule would require the installation of speed limiting devices on heavy trucks. NPRM was published on 9/7/16 and ended on 11/7/16.
Amendments to Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program Proposes amendments to address changes in the Agency’s grant programs resulting from Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. NPRM. This rule has seen delays because it’s awaiting the development of additional data.
Safe Integration of Automated Driving Systems-Equipped Commercial Motor Vehicles  The FMCSA has requested public comment about the current Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) and whether they’ll need to be updated, modified or eliminated to make the safe introduction of automated driving systems on our nation’s roadways easier. ANPRM was due last week. No further updates have been given.
Hours of Service of Drivers The FMCSA sent out a request for public comment regarding the current hours of service regulations and whether certain revisions would benefit motor carriers. NPRM. A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was filed with the White House’s Office of Management and Budget for approval in March.
Hours of Service of Drivers of Commercial Motor Vehicles; Transportation of Agricultural Commodities  In an effort to create a clearer definition of the term “Agricultural commodity,” the FMCSA is seeking public comment and data on the issue. ANPRM. Publication was due this month.
Controlled Substances and Alcohol Testing: State Driver’s Licensing Agency Downgrade of CDL The FMCSA is proposing that all State Driver’s Licensing Agencies remove commercial driving privileges from anyone who violates the current drug or alcohol regulations. Privileges would not be reinstated until the return-to-duty process is complete. NPRM. Publication is scheduled for early September.
 
 
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