Update on Relevant U.S. Regulations
FMCSA Proposes to Require Passenger Seat Belt Use in Property-Carrying CMVs
On December 10, 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to revise the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) to require that passengers in property-carrying commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) use the seat belt assembly whenever the vehicles are operated on public roads. Comments are due January 25, 2016. The proposal is in response to a CVSA request, submitted in October 2013.
FMCSA Releases ELD Final Rule
On December 10, 2015, FMCSA released the text of the agency’s Electronic Logging Device (ELD) final rule. The rule amends the FMCSRs to establish minimum performance and design standards for hours-of-service (HOS) ELDs; requirements for the mandatory use of these devices by drivers currently required to prepare HOS records of duty status (RODS); requirements concerning HOS supporting documents; and measures to address concerns about harassment resulting from the mandatory use of ELDs. The compliance date will be two years follow publication of the rule in the Federal Register, which is scheduled for December 16, 2015. Carriers currently using Automatic On-Board Recording Devices (AOBRDs) have an additional two years to comply. The rule will be effective 60 days after publication. CVSA submitted comments to the agency’s March 2014 supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking.
NHTSA Proposes Changes to Underride Guard Standards
On December 7, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released the text of a proposed rule that would upgrade the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) that address rear underride protection in crashes into trailers and semitrailers. NHTSA is proposing to adopt requirements of Transport Canada’s standard for underride guards, which require rear impact guards to provide sufficient strength and energy absorption to protect occupants of compact and subcompact passenger cars impacting the rear of trailers at 56 kilometers per hour (km/h) (35 miles per hour (mph)). The proposal has not yet been published in the Federal Register. Comments will be due 60 days after publication.
Update on Exemptions
FMCSA Renews Windshield Display Exemption
On December 7, 2015, FMCSA issued a notice requesting comments on the agency’s decision to renew an exemption that enables motor carriers to mount lane departure warning system cameras and collision mitigation system cameras lower in the windshield of a CMV than is currently permitted by the agency’s regulations. The exemption, which is effective November 18, 2015, is valid through November 17, 2017.
FMCSA Denies Motorcoach Emergency Exit Exemption Request
On December 7, 2015, FMCSA issued a notice denying an exemption request submitted by the Entertainer Motorcoach Council to allow its members to operate certain vehicles that do not meet the emergency exit requirements in the FMCSRs. CVSA submitted comments in opposition to the exemption request in June of 2015.
FMCSA Denies Camera System in Lieu of Mirrors Exemption Request
On December 7, 2015, FMCSA issued a notice denying an exemption request submitted by Atwood Forest Products to allow the use of a camera system installed at the sides and rear of up to 15 of its CMVs in lieu of rear vision mirrors as specified in the FMCSRs.
CVSA Active Exemption Tracker
CVSA maintains a list of active exemptions issued by FMCSA. Members can access the document by logging into their CVSA member account and clicking on the ‘Exemptions Tracker’ tab at the top of the page.
Other Items of Interest
FMCSA Removes Property-Carrier Data from Public Display
On December 4, 2015, FMCSA removed all compliance and safety data for property-carrying motor carriers from the agency’s website. The agency removed the data because of a requirement in the recently passedsurface transportation reauthorization requiring the agency to remove all Safety Management System scores and analysis of property-carrying motor carriers from public display. The agency will be reinstating portions of the data that are permitted by law to be displayed once the agency has made the appropriate changes. All passenger-carrying motor carrier data remains available for public viewing, per the legislation.