Update on Relevant U.S. Regulations
FMCSA Updates Civil Penalty Amounts
On April 3, 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a final rule, making adjustments to the civil penalty amounts assessed to those who violate the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) and Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs). The new fees are effective June 2, 2015.
FMCSA Publishes ICR Notices
On April 3, 2015, FMCSA published three Information Collection Request (ICR) notices, requesting comment.
- Notice and request for information regarding the agency’s intent to submit an ICR entitled “Electronic Logging Device Registration.” This ICR will be used to enable providers to register their ELDs with FMCSA. Comments are due May 4, 2015.
- Notice and request for information regarding the agency’s intent to submit an ICR to extend the current “Application for Certificate of Registration for Foreign Motor Carriers and Foreign Motor Private Carriers” ICR. Comments are due June 2, 2015.
- Notice and request for information regarding the agency’s intent to revise an ICR entitled, ‘‘Licensing Applications for Motor Carrier Operating Authority,’’ that is used by for-hire motor carriers of regulated commodities, motor passenger carriers, freight forwarders, property brokers, and certain Mexico-domiciled motor carriers to register their operations with the FMCSA. Comments are due June 2, 2015.
FMCSA Renews Greyhound Video Event Recorder Exemption
On April 2, 2015, FMCSA issued a notice and request for comment, indicating that the agency has renewed Greyhound Lines’ exemption allowing the placement of video event recorders at the top of the windshields on its buses, and within the swept area of the windshield wipers. While FMCSA has concluded that granting this exemption renewal will maintain a level of safety that is equivalent to or greater than the level of safety achieved without the exemption, the agency is requesting comments and information on the exemption, especially from anyone who believes this standard will not be maintained. This decision is effective April 2, 2015. Comments are due May 4, 2015.
FMCSA Grants 30 Minute Rest Break Exemption to National Ready Mixed Concrete Association
Also on April 2, 2015, FMCSA issued a notice granting an exemption to National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA) from the minimum 30 minute rest break provision of the hours-of-service (HOS) regulations for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. Under the terms and conditions of this exemption, drivers operating ready-mixed concrete trucks may use 30 minutes or more of on-duty ‘‘waiting time’’ to satisfy the requirement for the 30 minute rest break, provided they do not perform any other work during the break. The exemption giving these drivers the same regulatory flexibility that 49 CFR 395.1(q) provides for drivers transporting explosives. FMCSA has determined that granting these drivers an exemption from the 30 minute rest break requirement is likely to achieve a level of safety equivalent to or greater than the level of safety that would be obtained in the absence of the exemption. The exemption is effective April 2, 2015 through April 3, 2017.
FMCSA Denies Broker’s Request for Bond Exemption
On March 31, 2015, FMCSA issued a notice, denying an exemption request from the Association of Independent Property Brokers and Agents (AIPBA) for an exemption for all property brokers and freight forwarders from the $75,000 bond provision included in section 32918 of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). After reviewing the request, FMCSA has determined that the agency does not have the authority to nullify a statutory provision by exempting the entire class of persons subject to the provision, nor does the argument in the application justify an exemption. The decision is effective March 31, 2015.
FMCSA Seeks Comment on DOE Exemption Renewal Request
On March 27, FMCSA issued a notice and request for comment seeking input on the Department of Energy’s (DOE) request for a renewal of its exemption from the HOS 30 minute rest break provision. DOE currently holds an exemption for the period July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2015, which enables DOE’s contract motor carriers and their employee-drivers engaged in the transportation of security-sensitive radioactive materials to be treated similarly to drivers of shipments of explosives. The exemption renewal would allow these exempted drivers to use 30 minutes or more of ‘‘attendance time’’ to meet the HOS rest break requirements providing they do not perform any other work during the break. Comments are due April 27, 2015.
FMCSA Issues HOS Sleeper Berth Exemption to McKee Foods Transportation
Also on March 27, 2015, FMCSA issued a notice, granting an exemption request from certain HOS provisions for McKee Foods Transportation, LLC’s team drivers. Current HOS rules require that all sleeper berth rest regimens include, in part, the use of a sleeper berth for at least 8 hours—combined with a separate period of at least 2 hours, either in the sleeper berth, off-duty or some combination of both—to gain the equivalent of at least 10 consecutive hours off duty. The exemption will allow McKee Foods Transportation team drivers to take the equivalent of 10 consecutive hours off duty by splitting sleeper berth time into two periods totaling 10 hours, provided neither of the two periods is less than 3 hours. This exemption is effective March 27, 2015 through March 27, 2016.
FMCSA to Host Listening Session on State Inspection Programs for Passenger Carrying CMVs
On March 27, 2015, FMCSA announced that it will hold a public listening session on April 14, 2015, to solicit information concerning the annual inspections of passenger carrying CMVs. MAP–21 requires that FMCSA complete a rulemaking proceeding to consider requiring States to establish a program for annual inspections of passenger carrying CMVs. Additionally, under MAP–21, FMCSA must assess the risks associated with improperly maintained or inspected CMVs designed or used to transport passengers; the effectiveness of existing Federal standards for the inspection of such vehicles in mitigating the risks associated with improperly maintained vehicles and ensuring the safe and proper operation condition of such vehicles; and the costs and benefits of a mandatory inspection program. The session will be held at the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s 2015 Workshop in Jacksonville, Florida.
FMCSA Issues Regulatory Guidance Regarding Attenuator Trucks Deployed at Construction Sites
On March 26, 2015, FMCSA issued regulatory guidance concerning crashes involving motor vehicles striking the rear of attenuator trucks deployed at construction sites and whether such crashes meet the definition of ‘‘accident’’ under 49 CFR 390.5 for the motor carrier that controls the attenuator truck. Attenuator trucks are highway safety vehicles equipped with an impact attenuating crash cushion intended to reduce the risks of injuries and fatalities resulting from crashes in construction work zones. The guidance explains that such crashes in which motorists strike the attenuator trucks while they are deployed at construction work zones are not covered by the definition of accident and such occurrences will not be considered by FMCSA under its Compliance, Safety, Accountability Safety Measurement System (SMS) scores, or Safety Fitness Determination, for the motor carrier that controls the attenuator truck. This guidance is effective May 26, 2015.
PHMSA Publishes Updates on Special Permits
On March 24, 2015, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published several updates on Special Permit Applications.
- List of Applications for Special Permits – Comments due April 23, 2015
- List of Applications for Modification of Special Permits – Comments due April 8, 2015
- Notice of Actions on Special Permit Applications
- List of Applications Delayed More Than 180 Days