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January 2019 Significant Rulemaking Report
Foley
6 mins read

JANUARY 22, 2019  –Although many government agencies have been severely impacted by the government shutdown, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Federal Highway Administration (FHA) are still fully operational. Right before the shutdown, the FMCSA published a final rule that exempted carriers from California’s meal and rest break laws – something that has caused much debate (and several lawsuits). With this ruling now in effect, this means that carriers traveling in the state should follow the federal hours of service regulations, which call for one 30-minute break after 8 hours of driving – rather than the state law. The Teamsters Union disagrees with this ruling and  is already talking about challenging it in court.

The other potentially big news this month, is a bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives that would extend the ELD mandate for livestock and bee haulers through at least September 30. These drivers have been exempt since the electronic logging device rule went into effect over a year ago. This bill also included language around the FMCSA’s split sleeper berth study, which the agency scrapped this fall in favor of focusing on more comprehensive hours of service reform. Whether the provision in the bill would require the agency to resume the study is to be determined.

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.
Certification of Safety Auditors, Safety Investigators, and Safety Inspectors Would require all inspections, audits and reviews to be conducted by certified officials. NPRM. Based on comments to the Interim Final Rule (IFR), the agency will issue a Final Rule that addresses issues not clarified in the IFR.
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 is currently accepting comments 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 updated, modified or eliminated to make the safe introduction of automated driving systems on our nation’s roadways easier. ANPRM is due at the end of the month.
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. ANPRM. Comments received this fall are now under review by the FMCSA.
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. This is the first time this rule has appeared in the rulemaking report.
 
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