Regulatory Updates – January 23, 2015

Update on Relevant U.S. Regulations

PHMSA Proposes Changes to HMRs

On January 23, 2015, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NRPM), proposing a number of changes to the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs). According to the notice, the proposed amendments are designed to promote safer transportation practices, address petitions for rulemaking, respond to National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Safety Recommendations, facilitate international commerce, make editorial corrections, and simplify the regulations. Comments are due March 24, 2015.

FMCSA Requests Comment on Annual Grant Program Effectiveness

On January 16, 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a notice and request for comments on the agency’s plans to survey the States on the strengths, weaknesses, and effectiveness of FMCSA grant programs. Comments on the Information Collection Request (ICR) are due February 17, 2014.

PHMSA Publishes Updates on Special Permits

In January 2015, PHMSA published several updates on Special Permit Applications.

FMCSA Completes Cross Border Trucking Pilot Program

On January 15, 2015, FMCSA issued a notice, announcing that the agency has completed and submitted to Congress its report regarding the U.S.-Mexico Cross-Border Long-Haul Trucking Pilot Program. FMCSA will begin accepting applications from all Mexico-domiciled motor carriers seeking to operate in long-haul transportation beyond the U.S. commercial zones. All Mexican carriers who apply for operating authority will be required to pass a Pre-Authorization Safety Audit to ensure they properly manage hours of service (HOS) compliance and adhere to U.S. drug testing laws. The decision was effective January 15, 2015.

Update on Other Rulemakings of Interest

On January 13, 2015, the Department of Transportation (DOT) published its monthly Report on DOT Significant Rulemakings. The report included the following updates:

  • Safety Fitness Determination Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) – publication is still scheduled for June 2015.
  • CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Final Rule – publication is still scheduled for October 2015.
  • ELD Final Rule – publication is still scheduled for September 30, 2015.
  • Lease and Interchange of Vehicles for Passenger Motor Carriers Final Rule – publication has been delayed one month, from August 2015 to September 2015.
  • MAP-21 Enhancements to the Unified Registration System NPRM – publication is still scheduled for April of 2016.
  • FMCSA/NHTSA Joint Rule on Heavy Vehicle Speed Limiters – publication has been delayed one month, from April 2015 to May 2015.
  • Motorcoach Rollover Structural Integrity Final Rule – publication is scheduled for December 2015.
  • Electronic Stability Control Systems for Heavy Vehicles Final Rule – publication is still scheduled for April 2015.
  • Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium-and Heavy-Duty Vehicles and Work Trucks NPRM – publication is still scheduled for March 2015.
  • Wetlines Final Rule – publication is still scheduled for August 2015.

Canada Issues Changes to Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations

On December 31, 2014, an amendment was published in the Canada Gazette II, making changes to the regulations related to the transportation of dangerous goods. There will be a six month transition period for changes made to the Road Transport section.

Other Items of Interest

FMCSA Releases Crash Weighting Report

On January 23, 2015, FMCSA issued a notice and request for comment on the agency’s recently releasedCrash Weighting Analysis. The study looks at whether Police Accident Reports (PARs) provide sufficient information to support crash weighting determinations; whether a crash weighting determination process would offer an even stronger predictor of crash risk than overall crash involvement and how crash weighting would be implemented; and how FMCSA might manage a process for making crash weighting determinations. Comments are due February 23, 2015.

FMCSA Recruiting Drivers for HOS Restart Study

On January 15, 2015, FMCSA announced that the agency is recruiting drivers and carriers willing to participate in a Driver Restart Study. This study will measure and analyze the fatigue and safety performance levels of drivers who take two nighttime rest periods during their 34-hour restart break and those drivers who take less than two nighttime rest periods during their restart break. The study will compare data from five months of driver work schedules to assess safety critical events, operator fatigue and level of alertness, and driver health. More information can be found on the study website.