Regulatory Updates – Jan. 25, 2013

Update on Relevant Regulations

NHTSA Publishes Changes to Safety Gants

MAP-21 included a number of changes to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) grant programs. On January 23rd, NHTSA issued an Interim Final Rule making the necessary changes to the programs and requesting comments. One of the most significant changes, according to the agency, is to the 402 grant program, which includes new performance-based requirements for the states’ Highway Safety Plans.

DOE Requests Exemption for HOS Requirement for Certain

Earlier this month, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) received an application from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for an exemption from the 30-minute rest break provision of the agency’s hours-of-service (HOS) regulations. According to the request, the exemption would enable DOE’s contract motor carriers and their employee-drivers engaged in the transportation of security-sensitive radioactive materials to be treated similarly to drivers of shipments of explosives. The exempted drivers would be allowed to use 30 minutes or more of attendance time to meet the HOS rest break requirements, providing they do not perform any other work during the break. Comments on the exemption are due February 13, 2013.

Other Items of Interest

MCSAC Subcommittee on CSA Meeting Announced

FMCSA has announced that the MCSAC subcommittee on CSA will meet February 5 and 6 in Alexandria, VA. The meeting will be open to the public.  Further details on the meeting have not yet been released, but copies of all MCSAC Task Statements and an agenda for the entire meeting will be made available in advance of the meeting here.

FMCSA Creates ‘Enforcement Toolkit’ for Carriers

FMCSA has released a new ‘enforcement toolkit’ for carriers, to help with compliance with federal regulations. The materials include information on the process safety investigators use for on-site interventions and compliance reviews, according to a release from the agency. The materials are designed to correspond with the BASICs within the CSA program, so carriers can identify problem areas and work towards solutions.

FMCSA Releases Motorcoach Fatigue Study

FMCSA has released a study, entitled Motorcoach Driver Fatigue Study, 2011, which compares different sleep schedules to determine their impact on fatigue for motorcoach drivers. The study looked at three different options:

  • 10 full hours of night time sleep
  • 10 full hours of day time sleep
  • 10 hours, split into two 5 hour sleep periods- 3am to 8am / 3pm to 8pm

The study concluded that, while 10 full hours at night is the best schedule, the split sleep schedule resulted in better rest for the drivers than 10 full hours during the day.