Update on Relevant U.S. Regulations
PHMSA Final Rule on Reverse Logistics
On March 31, 2016, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) announced its final rule, adopting regulatory amendments applicable to the reverse logistics shipments of certain hazardous materials by highway transportation. This final rule revises the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to include a definition of “reverse logistics” and provides appropriate provisions for hazardous materials within the scope of this definition. This final rule also expands a previously existing exception for return shipments of used automobile batteries transported between a retail facility and a recycling center. The final rule is effective March 31, 2016.
FMCSA Extends Compliance Date of Bus Leasing and Interchange Final Rule
On March 29, 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced it would extend the compliance date by which motor carriers of passenger operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) under a lease or interchange agreement are subject to the FMCSA final rule published May 27, 2015, for one year, from Jan. 1, 2017, to Jan. 1, 2018.
FMCSA Issues Out-of-Service Order for Volvo Trucks Subject to Steering Shaft Recall
On March 25, 2016, FMCSA announced that CMVs manufactured by Volvo Trucks North America and affected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Part 573 Safety Recall Report No. 16V-097000, that have not already received the interim or permanent recall remedy repair specified by Volvo in the recall, are unsafe and should not be operated. Such vehicles are to be placed out of service by federal and state roadside safety inspectors. FMCSA is notifying CMV operators that vehicles subject to the out-of-service order without the interim or permanent repair will be subject to an immediate out-of-service order under 49 CFR 396.9 or compatible state regulations. The recall is effective March 23, 2016.
PHMSA Publishes Update on Special Permits
On March 25, 2016, PHMSA published updates on special permit applications:
- List of Applications for Special Permits – Comments are due by April 25, 2016.
Update on Exemptions
FMCSA Grants Oregon Trucking HOS Exemption Extension
On March 29, 2016, FMCSA announced an extension of the hours-of-service (HOS) exemption granted to the Oregon Trucking Associations (OTA) on March 18, 2015, for certain timber operations in Oregon. The agency extends the expiration date from March 18, 2017, to March 18, 2020, in response to section 5206(b)(2)(A) of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act). That section extends the expiration date of HOS exemptions in effect on the date of enactment of the FAST Act to five years from the date of issuance of the exemptions. The OTA exemption from the agency’s 30-minute rest break requirement is limited to CMV drivers engaged in transporting timber from Oregon forestlands, and further limited to periods of the year in which the Oregon Department of Forestry has formally restricted logging operations to certain hours of the day due to an elevated risk of forest fire. The exemption is effective March 18, 2015, to March 18, 2020.
FMCSA Denies ATA Exemption Request from HOS
On March 28, 2016, FMCSA announced its denial of the application submitted by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) for an exemption from the 14-hour provision of the agency’s HOS regulations to enable certain drivers to exclude waiting time from their calculations of on-duty time. ATA proposed that FMCSA issue a limited two-year exemption to permit exclusion of such waiting time by drivers of CMVs who are exclusively engaged in servicing oil and natural gas extraction sites and have the opportunity to obtain rest while waiting at such sites. FMCSA concluded that ATA did not demonstrate how the CMV operations under such an exemption would achieve a level of safety equivalent to or greater than the level of safety obtained in the absence of the exemption.
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.
Other Items of Interest
Changes to the Ontario CVOR Certificate
On March 29, 2016, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s Carrier Safety and Enforcement Branch announcedthat it is modernizing the computer systems that support its Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration (CVOR) program. The new system will change some aspects of the CVOR that officers will see at roadside for Ontario domiciled carriers. The changes are effective March 29, 2016.
OOIDA Files Appeal to Block ELD Mandate
On March 29, 2016, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) filed a legal brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit to challenge the new FMCSA regulation requiring interstate truckers to install electronic logging devices (ELDs) in their vehicles. OOIDA states that electronic monitoring devices on commercial vehicles does not advance safety, is arbitrary and capricious, and violates 4th amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.
NHTSA Announces Public Meeting on Automated Vehicles
On March 21, 2016, NHTSA announced a public meeting to seek input on planned guidelines for the safe deployment and operation of automated vehicles. The intent of the operational guidance is to encourage innovative and safe deployment of automated vehicle technologies. At this meeting, NHTSA is seeking public input on those aspects of automated vehicle systems that would benefit from operational guidelines and aspects of automated vehicle technology that may not be suitable or ready for guidelines, as well as alternative approaches to ensure safety. The meeting will be held April 8, 2016, in Washington, D.C. The meeting will also be webcast live.