Regulatory Updates – August 7, 2015

Update on Relevant U.S. Regulations

TowMate Seeks Lighting Exemption

On August 6, 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a notice and request for comments on an exemption request from TowMate, LLC, to allow motor carriers to operate rechargeable wireless temporary stop, turn, and tail lighting systems during temporary emergency towing operations in lieu of hard-wired lighting systems. Currently, rechargeable wireless temporary lighting systems do not meet the power supply requirements for lamps in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR). TowMate is requesting the temporary exemption in advance of petitioning FMCSA to conduct a rulemaking to amend 49 CFR 393.23. Comments are due September 8, 2015.

FMCSA Announces UCR Meeting

On August 5, 2015, FMCSA announced that the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) Plan Board of Directors will be meeting on August 20, 2105. The Board will continue its work in developing and implementing the UCR Plan and Agreement.

PHMSA Publishes Updates on Special Permits

On August 3, 2015, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published updates on Special Permit Applications.

EPA/NHTSA Schedule Public Hearings on New Emissions Proposal

On July 28, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a joint notice, announcing hearings related to their joint proposal on greenhouse gas emissions and fuel efficiency standards for medium and heavy duty vehicles. The hearings were scheduled for August 6, 2015 and August 18, 2015. In addition, the notice extended the public comment period through September 17, 2015

Other Items of Interest

Darling Nominated for FMCSA Administrator

On August 5, 2015, the President announced his intent to nominate Scott Darling to be the Administrator of FMCSA. Mr. Darling served as the agency’s Acting Administrator for several months. He currently serves as the agency’s Chief Counsel, a position he’s held since 2012.

Senate Confirms PHMSA Nominee

Also on August, 5, 2015, the Senate confirmed the appointment of Marie Therese Dominguez as Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). The President nominated Ms. Dominguez on May 29, 2015.

GAO Issues Report on FMCSA’s HOS Research

On July 29, 2015, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report, entitled “Additional Research Standards and Truck Drivers’ Schedule Data Could Allow More Accurate Assessments of the Hours of Service Rule.” In the report, GAO found that, while FMCSA’s hours of service research was generally conducted correctly, the agency did not meet certain research standards that may have impacted the accuracy of their findings.