Update on Relevant U.S. Regulations
FMCSA Seeks Comment on DOD HOS Exemption Renewal Request
On April 16, 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a notice and request for comment on a request from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC) for a renewal of its exemption from the minimum 30- minute rest break provision of the agency’s hours-of-service (HOS) regulations for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. SDDC currently holds an exemption for the period October 22, 2013, through October 21, 2015. The exemption renewal would allow these drivers to use 30 minutes or more of attendance time to meet the HOS rest break requirements, provided they do not perform any other work during the break. If granted, this exemption would be effective from October 22, 2015, through October 21, 2017. Comments are due May 18, 2015.
Update on Other Rulemakings of Interest
On April 14, 2015, the Department of Transportation (DOT) published its monthly Report on DOT Significant Rulemakings. The report included the following updates:
- Safety Fitness Determination Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) – publication has been delayed one month, July 15, 2015 to August 17, 2015.
- CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Final Rule – publication is still scheduled for December 14, 2015.
- ELD Final Rule – publication is still scheduled for September 30, 2015.
- Lease and Interchange of Vehicles for Passenger Motor Carriers Final Rule – publication is still scheduled for September 2015.
- MAP-21 Enhancements to the Unified Registration System NPRM – publication is still scheduled for April of 2016.
- MAP-21 Prohibition of Coercion Final Rule – publication is still scheduled for September 2015.
- FMCSA/NHTSA Joint Rule on Heavy Vehicle Speed Limiters – publication is still schedule for June 22, 2015.
- Motorcoach Rollover Structural Integrity Final Rule – publication is still scheduled for December 2015.
- Electronic Stability Control Systems for Heavy Vehicles Final Rule – publication is still scheduled for May 7, 2015.
- Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium-and Heavy-Duty Vehicles and Work Trucks NPRM – the NPRM was sent to the Office of Management and Budget publication is on March 27, 2015. Publication is still scheduled for March 2015.
- Wetlines Final Rule – publication is still scheduled for August 2015.
DOT Issues Final Rule on Drug Testing Chain of Custody
On April 13, 2015, the Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a final rule amending the agency’s regulations to incorporate changes to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) chain of custody and control form (CCF) recently approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Specifically, this rulemaking expands the DOT’s definition of the CCF to include both paper and electronic forms. The final rule was effective April 13, 2015.
FMCSA Seeks Comment on Fireworks HOS Exemption Renewal
On April 7, 2015, FMCSA issued a notice and request for comment on an exemption request the agency received from the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA), seeking a renewal of its exemption from FMCSA’s regulation prohibiting CMV drivers from driving after the 14th hour after coming on duty, and the expansion of its exemption to five additional carriers. The exemption would apply solely to the operation of CMVs by these 55 APA member companies in conjunction with staging fireworks shows celebrating Independence Day during the periods June 28–July 8, 2015, and June 28–July 8, 2016, inclusive. During these two periods, approximately 3,200 CMVs and drivers employed by these companies would be allowed to exclude off-duty and sleeper-berth time of any length from the calculation of the 14-hour driving window. These drivers would not be allowed to drive after accumulating a total of 14 hours of on duty time, following 10 consecutive hours off duty, and would continue to be subject to the 11-hour driving time limit, and the 60- and 70-hour on-duty limits. If granted, this exemption would be effective during the periods of June 28, 2015, through July 8, 2015, inclusive, and June 28, 2016, through July 8, 2016, inclusive. The exemption would expire on July 8, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. Comments are due May 7, 2015
FMCSA Issues CDL Exemption for Recreational Vehicle Industry Association
On April 6, 2015, FMCSA issued an exemption from the commercial driver’s license (CDL) requirements for drivers who deliver certain newly manufactured motorhomes and recreational vehicles (RVs) to dealers or trade shows before retail sale (driveaway operations). The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) requested the exemption because compliance with the CDL requirements prevents its members from implementing more efficient operations due to a shortage of CDL drivers. The exemption covers employees of all U.S. driveaway companies, RV manufacturers, and RV dealers transporting RVs between manufacturing sites and dealer locations and for movements prior to first retail sale. Drivers engaged in driveaway deliveries of RVs with gross vehicle weight ratings of 26,001 pounds or more will not be required to have a CDL as long as the empty RVs have gross vehicle weights or gross combination weights that do not meet or exceed 26,001 pounds, and any RV trailers towed by other vehicles weigh 10,000 pounds or less. RV units that have a combined gross vehicle weight exceeding 26,000 pounds are not covered by the exemption. The exemption was effective April 6, 2015 and expires on April 6, 2017.
FMCSA Plans ICR on Entry Level CDL Data
Also on April 6, 2015, FMCSA issued a notice and request for comments on the agency’s plans to issue an Information Collection Request (ICR) related to entry level driver training. FMCSA would like to gather information from State Driver Licensing Agencies on the annual number of entry level CDL applicants and related data. FMCSA will use this data in its development of a mandatory driver-training program primarily for individuals applying for their first CDL. Comments are due May 6, 2015.