Regulatory Updates – July 12, 2013

Update on Relevant Regulations:

FMCSA Revises ‘Off-Duty’ Time Regulatory Guidance

Today, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued revised regulatory guidance concerning the conditions that must be met in order for a CMV driver to record meal and other routine stops made during a work shift as off-duty time. The agency determined that the previous guidance, issued in 1997, has the effect of discouraging drivers from taking breaks during the work day, or documenting such breaks in their logbooks. The new guidance provides less restrictive language and brings the materials in line with the new hours of service (HOS) regulations. The guidance is effective July 12, 2013.

FMCSA Grants 90-Day Waiver from 30 Minute Rest Break Requirement for Livestock Industry

On July 11, FMCSA issued a limited, 90-day waiver from the 30-minute rest break provision in the HOS regulations for the transportation of livestock, as defined in 7 U.S.C. 1471(2). The waiver was issued at the request of industry associations, who raised concerns about the risks to the health of animals from rising temperatures inside livestock trucks during drivers’ mandatory 30-minute break, particularly in the summer months. FMCSA granted the waiver to ensure the well-being of the livestock, concluding that the waiver would likely achieve an equivalent level of safety. The waiver is limited to motor carriers that have a “satisfactory” safety rating or are “unrated;” motor carriers with “conditional” or “unsatisfactory” safety ratings are prohibited from utilizing this waiver. The waiver preempts State and local requirements. In addition, the entities that sought the waiver have also filed an exemption request from the 30-minute break requirement.

Other Items of Interest:

OIG Initiates Audit of PHMSA’s Special Permits and Approvals Program

In 2009 and 2010, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) reviewed and reported on weaknesses within the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) Special Permits and Approvals Program. OIG identified several areas for improvement, including how PHMSA:

  • assessed applicants’ fitness or ability to comply with special permit or approval conditions;
  • evaluated applicants’ proposed safety measures; and,
  • coordinated applications with other operating administrations.

As follow up, OIG has initiated an audit to determine the extent to which PHMSA has addressed those issues.

ATRI Launches New Driver Fatigue Management Website

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has launched its North American Fatigue Management Program (NAFMP) website. According to ATRI, the NAFMP provides a comprehensive approach to commercial driver fatigue management including:

  • Online fatigue management training for drivers, drivers’ families, carrier executives and managers, dispatchers and shippers/receivers;
  • Information on how to develop a corporate culture that facilitates reduced driver fatigue;
  • Information on sleep disorders screening and treatment;
  • Driver and trip scheduling information;
  • Information on Fatigue Management Technologies.

The site also includes a return-on-investment calculator, which allows motor carriers to estimate the cost-benefit of deploying the NAFMP in its entirety or select components in a customized program. All of the NAFMP information and training is available on the website free of charge for interested parties.

OOIDA Launches Truckers for Safety Campaign

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has launched a new campaign to address the lack of basic training standards for new drivers. The goal of the initiative is to help prepare the next generation of long-haul truckers and will proactively address other highway safety concerns.