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January 2022 Significant Rulemaking Report
3 mins read

We’re less than a month into 2022, but already we’re seeing some regulation changes and updates by the FMCSA.

One important change for DOT-regulated drivers with vision problems is the publication of a final rule that establishes alternative vision standards for drivers. Effective March 22, 2022, drivers who may have needed an exemption from the FMCSA to operate a commercial motor vehicle in the past can soon be medically certified by an ophthalmologist or optometrist instead. To be medically certified, the physician will both consider information in the driver’s Vision Evaluation Report and use their independent medical judgment to assess the driver’s vision and their ability to operate a commercial motor vehicle safely.

Also of note this month, was an announcement by the FMCSA that random DOT drug and alcohol testing rates would remain unchanged for 2022. Motor carriers and their third-party administrators must continue randomly testing at a rate of at least 50 percent of drivers for controlled substances and 10 percent of drivers for alcohol.

Although the FMCSA Training Provider Registry doesn’t go into effect until next month, the website is now live. The FMCSA does intend to build out the database and make the website searchable, but for now, motor carriers and drivers can access the site to learn more about the registry, as well as to view a list of training programs that meet the new requirements.

Speaking of driver training, the FMCSA published a notice this month that will establish a pilot program for drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 years old who want to operate a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce. This Apprenticeship Pilot Program will enable these CDL drivers to complete two probationary periods, during which time they’ll operate under the direct supervision of an experienced driver. These apprentices will not be permitted to transport passengers or hazardous materials.

Lastly, there is a new significant rulemaking regarding Safety Fitness Procedures that is due for publication on May 24, 2022. With the agency’s increased focus on removing unfit motor carriers from the roadways, this rulemaking will seek public comment about “the use of available safety data, including inspection data, in determining carrier fitness to operate.” The agency will also solicit input regarding possible changes to the current three-tier safety fitness rating system.

If you want to see what else is happening at the FMCSA, and what other rulemakings are on the horizon, you can check out the January 2022 Significant Rulemaking Report here. 

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