Regulatory Updates – Feb. 8, 2013

Update on Relevant Regulations

FMCSA Grants Exemptions to Hearing-Impaired Drivers

For the first time, FMCSA has granted exemptions from the physical qualifications standard concerning hearing for interstate drivers for forty commercial drivers. The exemptions, effective February 1, allow the individuals to operate a CMV for two years, at which point the exemption can be renewed.

PHMSA Makes Correction to HazMat Regulations

On January 7, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued a Final Rule making changes to the Hazardous Materials Regulations to “maintain alignment with international standards by incorporating various amendments”. On February 6, the agency issued a correction to that document.

SFD, EOBR Rules Delayed

In its latest ‘Report on Significant Rulemakings’ FMCSA has delayed the publication of a number of rules of interest to CVSA members. The Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) rule is now slated for publication in January 2014. The agency’s rulemaking on EOBRs is now scheduled for September of this year. In addition, publication of a rule addressing the agricultural exemptions included in MAP-21 is now scheduled for October 2013.

FMCSA Updates Q&A Document on MAP-21 Agricultural Exemptions

On January 22, FMCSA updated their Question & Answer document addressing issues with the agricultural exemptions included in MAP-21. The document, along with other materials addressing MAP-21, is being maintained on FMCSA’s MAP-21 website.

Other Items of Interest

Secretary LaHood Leaving USDOT

On January 29, DOT Secretary Ray LaHood announced that he would not be serving a second term. The announcement came after months of speculation on the Secretary’s plans. The President has not yet named his nominee to replace LaHood. That nominee will have to be confirmed by the Senate. LaHood will remain at DOT until his successor is confirmed.

NTSB Issues Report and Recommendations

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has completed its investigation into a 2011 crash in Miriam, NV, involving a collision between CMV and an Amtrak train in which 6 people died. The report includes recommendations for a number of entities, including CVSA and FMCSA. Included in the recommendations to FMCSA was the creation of a national database for commercial drivers and require motor carriers to screen 10 years of driver employment history prior to hiring.

FMCSA publishes HOS Guidance for Drivers

FMCSA has made available new guidelines on the upcoming changes in hours of service (HOS) requirements. The documents, ‘Interstate Truck Driver’s Guide to Hours of Service’ and a series of logbook examples, are intended as an aid for drivers.