Regulatory Updates – Aug. 9, 2013

Update on Relevant Regulations:

Court Issues HOS Ruling; FMCSA Releases Guidance

On August 2, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued its ruling on the Hours of Service (HOS) challenges brought by the American Trucking Associations and the Advocates and Public Citizen. The Court combined the two challenges, which sought to overturn the new HOS rules, albeit, for opposite reasons. In its ruling, the Court denied both challenges, with one exception – the ruling vacates the 30-minute rest break requirement for short haul truck drivers. On August 8, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published guidance clarifying how the 30-minute rest break exception for short haul drivers is to be enforced.

FMCSA Seeks Comment on Exemption Requests

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

  • Help, Inc. seeks an exemption to allow its transponder systems to be mounted lower in the windshield than is currently permitted in order to maximize the device’s ability to send and receive roadside data. Comments are due August 30.
  • Van Hool N.V. and Coach USA (Van Hool/Coach USA) seek an exemption to allow the use of double deck motorcoaches constructed with a sleeper berth that has an exit that does not meet the minimum dimensional requirements specified in Section 393.76(c)(1) of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). Because of the limited available locations to place the sleeper berth within the confines of the motorcoach, Van Hool/Coach USA is requesting an exemption that would allow the use of sleeper berths that comply with the pre- January 1, 1963, exit dimension requirements instead of the post-January 1, 1963, requirements. Comments are due September 5.

FMCSA Publishes No Defect DVIR NPRM

On August 7, FMCSA published its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding Driver-Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIR). The agency proposes to reduce the paperwork burden on industry by requiring that drivers complete a DVIR only when a defect is noted during pre- and post-trip inspections. Currently, DVIRs are required whether a defect is detected or not. Drivers are still required to conduct pre- and post-trip inspections. Comments are due October 7.

FMCSA Seeking Comment on CMV Marking Requirements

On August 1, FMCSA announced its intention to submit an Information Collection Request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regarding commercial motor vehicle (CMV) marking requirements. The agency is required to submit these requests to OMB prior to initiating the effort. FMCSA would like to document the burden associated with the marking regulations codified in 49 CFR 390.21, ‘‘Marking of Self-Propelled CMVs and Intermodal Equipment.’’ The agency is seeking comments on its request in order to justify the request to OMB. Comments are due September 3.

EOBR Rule Sent to OMB, Other Regulations of Interest

In early August, the Department of Transportation (DOT) published its August Report on Significant Rulemakings. The report included updates on several rulemakings of interest to the CVSA membership. According to the report, FMCSA’s Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Electronic On-Board Recorders or Electronic Logging Devices was sent to OMB on August 7 and is scheduled for publication in mid-November.

Meanwhile, a handful of other items of interest were delayed. The NPRM on the lease and interchange regulations for passenger CMVs is scheduled to be published on August 13. The agency’s Safety Fitness Determination rulemaking is now scheduled for publication in April of 2014, with the comment period ending in June and the agency’s NPRM on enhancements to the Unified Registration System, required by MAP-21, has been pushed back from May of 2014 to July of 2014.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also saw several of its initiatives delayed. The Final Rule requiring seat belts on motorcoaches is now scheduled for publication in early September. The agency expects to publish its NPRM proposing new structural integrity requirements for motorcoaches in early December. Publication of the NPRM regarding Heavy Vehicle Speed Limiters was delayed several months, from early December of this year to March 2014.

UCR Board Meeting Announced

FMCSA announces that the Unified Carrier Registration Plan Board of Directors will meet on August 29, from Noon to 3:00 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time. The meeting will be open to the public via conference call. During the meeting, the board will continue its work in developing and implementing the Unified Carrier Registration Plan.