Regulatory Updates – July 26, 2013

Update on Relevant Regulations

FMCSA Expands CVISN ‘Transponder’ Definition

On July 19, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that, for the purposes of CVISN electronic screening truck inspection and weigh station bypass systems, Commercial Mobile Radio Services (CMRS) network devices qualify as transponders. The agency has determined that CMRS network devices, such as smartphones, tablets, fleet management systems, global positioning system (GPS) navigational units, and onboard telematics devices (referred to collectively as ‘‘wireless mobile data devices’’), have the capability of transmitting and receiving the same information between the driver and the inspection site as the dedicated short-range communication (DSRC)-enabled transponders operating at the 915 MHz frequency currently used to fulfill the CVISN electronic screening requirement for core compliance. According to the announcement, this policy does not affect the applicability or enforcement of FMCSA’s regulations prohibiting texting and the use of hand-held wireless mobile phones by commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers.

PHMSA Seeking Volunteers for Paperless Hazard Communications Pilot Program

On July 19, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published a Notice in the Federal Register, announcing the agency’s intent to move forward with a MAP-21 mandated pilot program to evaluate the effectiveness of paperless hazard communications systems. The agency is seeking volunteers to participate in the Paperless Hazard Communications Pilot Program, as well as comments on the proposed approach. Comments are due September 17.

PHMSA Revises Fireworks Regulations

On July 16, PHMSA announced that the agency is revising the Hazardous Materials Regulations applicable to the approval of Division 1.4G consumer fireworks (UN0336 Fireworks) and establishing DOT-approved fireworks certification agencies that provide an alternative to the approval process for Division 1.4G consumer fireworks. PHMSA is also reformatting the procedural regulations pertaining to certification agencies. These actions clarify regulations with respect to PHMSA’s fireworks approval process and provide regulatory flexibility in seeking authorization for the transportation of Division 1.4G consumer fireworks. These changes are effective August 15, 2013.

Other Regulations of Interest

In mid-July, the Department of Transportation (DOT) published its July Report on Significant Rulemakings. The report included updates on several rulemakings of interest to the CVSA membership. According to the report, FMCSA is due to publish its Final Rule on the Unified Registration System in early August, followed by a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, which was mandated in MAP-21. The agency’s Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on electronic logging devices (previously referred to as EOBRs), which will incorporate additional requirements from MAP-21, is expected to be published in November of this year. Meanwhile, FMCSA’s Safety Fitness Determination rulemaking has been delayed yet again, and is now scheduled for publication in May of 2014.

Other Items of Interest:

FMCSA and Transport Canada Collaborate on Driver Fatigue Management Tool

In mid-July, FMCSA and Transport Canada announced the launch of the North American Fatigue Management Program (NAFMP), a website that provides training and education on commercial bus and truck driver fatigue management. According to the agencies, the new tool is designed to help CMV drivers prevent fatigue-related crashes. The NAFMP is a voluntary, interactive web-based educational and training program developed to provide commercial truck and bus drivers and carriers with an awareness of the factors contributing to fatigue and its impact on performance and safety. It provides:

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

The program was developed by multiple partners, including FMCSA, Transport Canada, Alberta Employment and Immigration, Alberta Transportation, Alberta Worker’s Compensation Board, Alberta Motor Transport Association, Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail du Québec, Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec, and the American Transportation Research Institute.

DC Delegate Norton Named Ranking Member of Key Transportation Subcommittee

It was announced this week that DC Delegate to the House of Representatives, Eleanor Holmes Norton, will replace Congressman Peter DeFazio as the Ranking Member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Highways & Transit. Congressman DeFazio was forced to give up his position on the subcommittee in order to become Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee.