Regulatory Updates – June 12, 2015

Update on Relevant U.S. Regulations

FMCSA Publishes Final Rule on the Treatment of Confidential Business Information

On June 10, 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a final rule amending its rulemaking procedures by adding a new section establishing the standards and procedures that the agency will use regarding the submission of certain confidential commercial or financial information that is referred to in this rule as “confidential business information” (CBI). This rule also sets forth the procedures for asserting a claim of confidentiality by parties who voluntarily submit CBI to the Agency in connection with a notice-and-comment rulemaking and in a manner consistent with the standards adopted in this rule. The rule applies to CBI that is voluntarily submitted to FMCSA in connection with notice and comment rulemaking.  The rule will enhance FMCSA’s ability to issue rules that are data-driven and evidenced-based, while also ensuring that the public is adequately informed of how the Agency uses CBI in formulating a final rule. The final rule is effective June 10, 2015.

FMCSA Renews Two Exemptions

On June 4, 2015, FMCSA renewed two exemptions.

  • Metal Coils – allows the securement of metal coils on a flatbed vehicle, in a sided vehicle, or in an intermodal container loaded with eyes crosswise, grouped in rows, in which the coils are loaded to contact each other in the longitudinal direction. The decision is effective June 4, 2015. Comments are due July 6, 2015.
  • Trailways HOS – allows covered drivers to perform their daily duties without having to record entries in the daily log for breaks in driving time of 10 minutes or less. Such activity will not be considered a change of duty status for the purposes of 49 CFR 395.8(c). The exemption is effective from May 31, 2015 through May 31, 2017.

NHTSA Release ESC Final Rule

In June, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) finalized its rule requiring electronic stability control (ESC) systems on heavy trucks and large buses (FMVSS No. 136).  The final rule requires ESC systems on truck tractors and large buses exceeding 26,000 pounds in gross weight. The agency estimates the rule will prevent as many as 1,729 crashes, 649 injuries and 49 fatalities each year. ESC will prevent up to 56 percent of rollover crashes not caused by striking an obstacle or leaving the road.

Other Items of Interest

DOT Releases Draft Size & Weight Study

On June 5, 2015, DOT released a draft of its truck size and weight study, mandated by MAP-21. According to the document, DOT has determined that there are shortcomings in the data that make it difficult to develop sound recommendations. As such, the agency recommends no changes to current limits, until those data issues have been resolved. The document will be independently peer reviewed by the Transportation Research Board. In addition, a public outreach session will be held in the near future and members of the public will have an opportunity to comment on the technical findings through the department’s public docket. Feedback from the peer review and the public will be incorporated into the final report to Congress later this year.

MCSAC to Meet to Discuss Beyond Compliance

On June 3, 2015, FMCSA announced that the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) will meet June 15–16, 2015, to complete its recommendations concerning the agency’s Beyond Compliance initiative, provide ideas the Agency should consider for updating its strategic plan, and receive a briefing concerning FMCSA’s current research projects. The meeting is open to the public and there will be a period of time at the end of each day for the public to submit oral comments.

FMCSA Updates Restart Study Information

In early June, FMCSA updated the agency’s website to reflect changes made to the Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Driver Restart Study Plan. In February 2015, FMCSA published the original study plan, which outlined the scope and methodology for the study. Since publishing the original study plan, technical modifications have been made based on input from the independent peer review panel, FMCSA, DOT’s Office of Inspector General, and external stakeholders. The technical modifications to the study plan are described in Appendices F and G of the updated plan.

NHTSA Releases 2013 Fatality Report

NHTSA has released its 2013 Fatality Annual Report. The report, Traffic Safety Facts 2013: A Compilation of Motor Vehicle Crash Data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and the General Estimates System, covers all types of motor vehicle crashes and fatalities.

PHMSA Nominee Announced

On May 29, 2015, President Obama nominated Marie Therese Dominguez to be the new administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). Ms. Dominguez currently serves as an assistant secretary at the Defense Department and has worked DOT and the National Transportation Safety Board. The nomination requires confirmation from the Senate.