Regulatory Updates – April 5, 2013

Update on Relevant Regulations

Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Rule One Step Closer to Completion

In late March, DOT sent its Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse rule to the Office of Management and Budget for final. OMB approval typically takes roughly two to three months.

Mexico’s SCT Moves Forward with NOM-68

On March 22, the Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes (SCT) in Mexico published its proposed Mexican Official Standard NOM-68 in the Official Gazette, similar to the Federal Register in the U.S. NOM-68 addresses federal inspection standards for CMVs in Mexico. There is a 60-day comment period for the proposal. All comments must be submitted in Spanish. NOM-68 was published in two parts. Part 1 / Part 2.

FMCSA Issues Final Rule on CDL Testing / CLP Standards

On March 25, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a new Final Rule for Commercial Driver’s License Testing and Commercial Learner’s Permit Standards. The original rule was issued in May of 2011, but the agency received several petitions for reconsideration. They granted some of those petitions and the new final rule includes seven changes. FMCSA denied the remaining issues submitted for reconsideration. The seven changes are:

  1. State Procedures—49 CFR 383.73(a)(2)(vi), (b)(6), (c)(7), (d)(7), and (e)(5)
  2. Requiring Two Employees To Verify Documents—49 CFR 383.73(m)
  3. Prohibiting Training Schools From Administering Skills Tests—49 CFR 383.75(a)(7)
  4. Bonding Requirements—49 CFR 383.75(a)(8)(v)
  5. Prohibiting States From Using a Photo on the CLP—49 CFR 383.153(b)(1) and 384.227
  6. Requiring Annual Background Checks for Skills Test Examiners—49 CFR 384.228(h)

Although FMCSA initially denied petitions seeking to delay the May 2011 final rule’s compliance date, FMCSA reverses that decision and modifies the following additional provision: Substantial compliance—general requirements—49 CFR 384.301(f).

PHMSA Issues Correction to Hazardous Materials Table

On March 25, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a correction to its March 7 Final Rule. The agency makes a correction to the Hazardous Materials Table in § 172.101.

NHTSA Considering Adding Direct Final Rule Procedures

In March, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that it would be considering adopting procedures allowing the agency to issue Direct Final Rules for “noncontroversial rules.” Several other agencies within DOT, including FMCSA, currently use this procedure.

Other Items of Interest

FMCSA Denies Two Applications to Mexican Cross Border Trucking Program

On April 4, FMCSA denied applications from two Mexican trucking companies, Transportes Mor SA de CV and Adriana De Leon Amaro, to take part in the cross-border trucking program. According to the announcement, the two carriers did not pass their pre-authorization safety audit.

FMCSA Moving Forward on Sleep Apnea Guidance

At the recent Mid-America Trucking Show, FMCSA officials announced that the agency is preparing to propose regulatory guidance addressing the issue of sleep apnea. The guidance will encourage medical examiners who examine CMV drivers for certification to refer drivers with a body mass index above 35 to be tested for sleep apnea. The guidance will also include recommendations on medical treatments for those drivers diagnosed with sleep apnea.

ATRI Seeking Input on CSA from CMV Drivers

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has launched its third annual commercial driver surveyto identify CSA impacts on trucking operations, as well as driver perceptions and attitudes toward FMCSA’s maturing regulatory program. This anonymous survey, which specifically seeks commercial driver input, will be compared and contrasted with data collected in 2011 and 2012. The brief on-line survey asks drivers for information on how their perceptions of CSA have changed or been affected as CSA continues its third full year of measuring commercial driver and motor carrier safety performance. The survey also seeks to capture attitudes toward the program and general understanding of its key components.