Regulatory Updates – Dec. 9, 2016

Update on Relevant U.S. Regulations

FMCSA Finalizes Rule for New CMV Drivers

On Dec. 8, 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a final rule creating minimum training standards for individuals who apply for a commercial driver’s license (CDL), want to upgrade their CDL, or apply for certain endorsements such as hazardous materials, passenger carriers or school buses. The rule also establishes a registry of agency-approved trainers that entry-level drivers must use to receive their training. The final rule is effective Feb. 6, 2017, and the compliance date is Feb. 7, 2020.

 

FMCSA Establishes Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

On Dec. 5, 2016, FMCSA released a final rule establishing a Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. The clearinghouse is a database that will maintain records of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers’ drug and alcohol violations and requires employers to determine whether a prospective employee has incurred a violation before hiring. The intent of the clearinghouse is to ensure that drivers cannot conceal drug and alcohol violations by changing jobs or locations. The final rule is effective Jan. 4, 2017, and the compliance date is Jan. 6, 2020.

 

NHTSA Seeks Comment on Driver Distraction Guidelines

On Nov. 29, 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released Phase 2 Driver Distraction Guidelines covering portable devices. The agency estimates that distracted driving caused 10 percent of fatal crashes, 18 percent of injuries sustained in crashes and 16 percent of all motor vehicle crashes in 2014. The Phase 2 Guidelines follow Phase 1 Guidelines released in 2013 covering electronic components installed in vehicles as original equipment. Comments are due by Feb. 3, 2017.

 

U.S. DOT Requests Applicants for Automated Vehicle Testing Grounds

On Nov. 29, 2016, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced a request for applicants to be designated U.S. DOT automated vehicle proving grounds. DOT anticipates using the designated proving grounds to share best practices for the testing and deployment of automated vehicles. Eligible candidates include testing facilities, race tracks, cities and other urban areas, and highway corridors. Proposals are due by Dec. 19, 2016.

 

FMCSA Seeks Comment on Highway Route Designations for Hazardous Materials

On Nov. 29, 2016, FMCSA issued a notice of its plan to submit an information collection request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for its review and approval. The collection involves an extension to a currently approved ICR related to highway routing. Information is sought from states and Indian tribes to identify restrictions and limitations on the transport of hazardous materials. Comments are due by Dec. 29, 2016.

 

NHTSA Announces Automated Vehicles Meeting

On Nov. 29, 2016, NHTSA announced it would conduct a public meeting on Dec. 12, 2016, to seek input on the recently released automated vehicles (AV) policy. This is the second NHTSA meeting following the publication of the AV policy and will focus on the model state policy and the modern regulatory tools sections of the document. Attendance is open to the public.

 

PHMSA Publishes Updates on Special Permits

On Nov. 25, 2016, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published updates on special permit applications:

 

CVSA Petitions and Comments to Rulemakings

CVSA Submits Comments on Speed Limiter NPRM

On Dec. 7, 2016, CVSA submitted comments responding to proposed rulemaking from NHTSA and FMCSA that would establish safety standards requiring all newly manufactured U.S. trucks, buses and multipurpose passenger vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating more than 26,000 pounds to be equipped with speed limiters. CVSA’s comments requested clarification on the proposed requirements and the scope of enforcement.

 

Update on Exemptions

FMCSA Clarifies Oregon DOT CLP Exemption

On Nov. 29, 2016, FMCSA announced a correction to its April 5, 2016, exemption granted to the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and other state driver licensing agencies (SDLAs) from the commercial learner’s permit (CLP) requirement. Specifically, the exemption allows CLPs to be valid for more than 180 days from the date of issuance. The exemption was effective on Nov. 29, 2016.

 

CVSA Active Exemption Tracker

CVSA maintains a list of active exemptions issued by FMCSA. Members can access the document by logging into their CVSA member account and clicking on the “Exemptions Tracker” tab at the top of the page.