Update on Relevant Regulations:
FMCSA Releases Final Brake Adjustment Rule
On August 6th, FMCSA will publish a Final Rule (NEED PDF) addressing two CVSA petitions regarding brake adjustment limits in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). The rule will be effective 30 days after publication. CVSA’s petition letter is attached.
FMCSA Releases Plan for Investigating Crash Accountability
On July 23rd, FMCSA released its plan for addressing the issue of crash accountability in the CSA scoring system. In looking at the role fault plays in crash predictability, FMSCA will look at whether or not ‘fault’ can be effectively and consistently determined using police reports, what benefits such determinations will have on overall safety and whether or not those benefits outweigh the cost of determining accountability. The research is scheduled to be completed next summer, at which point the agency will seek public input.
FMCSA Notice Regarding FY 2013 Safety Grants
Also on August 6th, FMCSA will publish a notice (NEED PDF) and change of application dates for the FY 2013 safety grants. This notice is a result of the changes to the grants made by MAP21.
FMCSA Extends Oilfield Exemption Comment Period; Schedules Listening Sessions
On Monday, FMCSA will publish an announcement extending the comment period for the agency’s regulatory guidance on oilfield exemptions to October 5th. In addition, the agency will conduct three listening sessions on the subject. The listening sessions, which are open to the public, are scheduled for:
· August 17th in Denver, CO
· August 21st in Pittsburgh, PA
· September (date to be determined) in Dallas, TX
FMCSA Proposes Changes to ‘Self-Reporting of Out-of-State Convictions’ for Drivers
In an attempt to relieve the regulatory burden to both states and individuals, FMCSA has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking/Request for Comments regarding drivers’ self-report of out-of-state convictions. Currently, drivers are required to report out-of-state traffic convictions to their own home state’s licensing agency. However, because all but one state use the CDLIS system to report convictions, the agency believes self report is unnecessary. Instead, states will be required to transmit that data electronically within 30 days of the conviction. Comments are due October 1st.
FMCSA Notice of Policy Regarding Operating Authority Registration
On August 2nd, FMCSA published a notice of policy regarding review of applications for operating authority registration, and suspension, amendment or revocation of existing operating authority registration. Motor carriers, brokers and freight forwarders must demonstrate a willingness and ability to comply with applicable statutes and regulations in order to obtain and maintain operating authority registration. This notice outlines FMCSA’s policy for evaluating an applicant’s willingness and ability to comply with these requirements. The policy statement was effective August 2nd.
FMCSA Announces Upcoming MCSAC Meeting
Today, FMCSA has published a notice announcing that the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee will hold a meeting August 27-29 in Alexandria, VA. The meeting will include presentations on the major motor carrier safety provisions in MAP21 and the CSA program. The Committee will be assigned a new task related to CSA, and will establish a subcommittee to provide feedback on the program. Also on the agenda, an update from the Cross-Border Trucking Pilot subcommittee, the Regulatory Flexibility Act Section 610 review process, and Motorcoach Hours-of-Service (HOS).
FMCSA Proposes Changes to Handling of Data from Pre-Employment Screening Program
In July, FMCSA announced plans to make changes to how the agency handles data in the Pre-Employment Screening Program. The agency is seeing comments on four changes:
· Excluding financial transactions from the records
· Revising a category of records identified as “Access Transaction Records” to clarify that the information is kept on the users who have access to the system for pre-employment screening.
· Providing notice of transactions routinely initiated by service providers.
· Providing notice when an operator or applicant requests his own record.
The notice also includes ‘nonsubstantive changes’ intended to simplify formatting. Comments are due August 21st.
NHTSA Reports an Increase in Road Fatalities in First Quarter of 2012
In July, NHTSA published a report indicating that road fatalities in the first quarter of 2012 have ‘increased significantly’, rising 13.5% over the first quarter of 2011. Meanwhile, VMT increased a mere 1.4% for the same period.
HOS Lawsuit Update
In late July, both ATA and the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety submitted briefs in their suits against FMCSA regarding the 2011 HOS rule. In its brief, ATA argues that the agency based its assessment on faulty data, intentionally skewing the process in favor of the desired result. ATA was joined by the Intermodal Association of North America, the National Retail Federation, OOIDA and a number of other organizations, who filed in support of their brief. Meanwhile, the Advocates are seeking to force the agency to reevaluate the 11 hour rule, which they had hoped to see reduced. The Advocates would also like to see the 34-hour restart provision eliminated. FMCSA has been ordered by the court to respond by September 24th.
OOIDA Files Suit Challenging FMCSA’s Driver Database
In July, OOIDA filed a lawsuit seeking to force FMCSA to remove drivers’ violations from the agency’s Motor Carrier Management Information System. According to the filing, OOIDA argues that the database contains inaccurate driver information, including violations that drivers have not yet been found guilty of as well as violations that have been dismissed by a court.