Regulatory Updates – Aug. 30, 2013

Update on Relevant Regulations:

FMCSA Publishes URS Final Rule

On August 23, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published its Final Rule establishing a new electronic online Unified Registration System (URS).  The system is intended to streamline and simplify FMCSA’s registration process and serve as a clearinghouse and depository of information on all entities regulated by the agency. The URS will replace four existing systems and combine 16 forms that carriers, freight forwarders, brokers and other entities now use to register and update data. It will also help FMCSA maintain more accurate information on the entities subject to the agency’s jurisdiction. The final rule is effective October 23, 2015, except for §390.19 and §392.9b, which are effective November 1, 2013, and §366.2, which is effective April 25, 2016. The compliance date is October 23, 2015, except that the compliance date for §390.19 and §392.9b is November 1, 2013, and the compliance date for §366.2 is April 25, 2016.

FMCSA Publishes Interpretation Regarding Transfers of Operating Authority

On August 23, FMCSA issued an interpretation concerning transfers of operating authority registration by non-exempt for-hire motor carriers, property brokers and freight forwarders. The agency will no longer process applications for transfer of operating authority, issue transfer approvals, or require the $300 fee formerly associated with such applications. The new process and interpretation are effective October 22, 2013.

FMCSA Issues Regulatory Guidance for Oilfield Exemption

On August 12, FMCSA issued regulatory guidance regarding the agency’s Oilfield Exemption. According to the document, following a review of all comments to June 2012 rule, the agency has determined that no further elaboration on the regulatory guidance is needed. FMCSA will continue to monitor the use of the two hours of service (HOS) oilfield exceptions in 49 CFR 395.1(d).

FMCSA Seeks Comment on Exemption Requests

FMCSA has received the following exemption requests in recent weeks, and requests public comment:

  • National Pork Producers Council; Hours of Service of Drivers (2013-19387) – Request for exemption – 30-minute rest break. FMCSA considers this request to be on behalf of all motor carriers and drivers when transporting livestock. Comments are due by September 11.
  • U.S. Department of Defense; Hours of Service of Drivers (2013-19396) – Request for exemption – 30-minute rest break. The Department of Defense (DOD) Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC) seeks an exemption to allow contract motor carriers and their employee-drivers engaged in the transportation of weapons, munitions, and sensitive/classified cargo to have the same regulatory flexibility that § 395.1(q) provides for drivers transporting explosives, which allows the driver 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. Comments are due by September 11.
  • Miami Nice Tours; Commercial Driver’s License Standards (2013-0284) – Request for exemption – Commercial driver’s license (CDL) provisions of Part 383 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). Miami Nice Tours has requested an exemption from the CDL standards found in Part 383 for itself and 50 European drivers. The company would employ the 50 European drivers to conduct approximately 87 motorcoach tours in the United States annually. Part 383 requires motorcoach drivers to hold a CDL issued by a U.S. State. While each driver is licensed to operate a motorcoach in his or her European country of residence, States do not issue CDLs to non-residents. Comments are due by September 16.
  • National Ready Mixed Concrete Association; Hours of Service of Drivers (2013-0317) – Request for exemption – 30-minute rest break. FMCSA considers this request to be on behalf of all motor carriers and CMV drivers operating ready-mixed concrete trucks. Due to the nature of their operation, NRMCA believes that compliance with the 30-minute rest break rule is extremely difficult due to the numerous variables associated with delivery (e.g., weather, customer readiness, traffic) and becomes even more problematic and burdensome during periods of peak demand at construction sites. Comments are due by September 19.

PHMSA Publishes Updates on Special Permits

On August 21, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published several updates on Special Permit Applications.

MCSAC Meeting Announced

FMCSA has announced that the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee will meet September 9-11 in Alexandria, VA. On the 9th, the Committee will be discussing hours of service requirements for passenger-carrying vehicles. On the 10th, the MCSAC will discuss Schedule II medication. On the 11th, the CSA Subcommittee will meet. Meetings are open to the public for their entirety and there will be a public comment period at the end of each day.