Update on Relevant U.S. Regulations
FMCSA Issues Fireworks Exemption
On June 26, 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a notice renewing exemptions for Illumination Fireworks, LLC and ACE Pyro, LLC from the requirement that drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) must not drive a CMV following the 14th hour after coming on duty. The exemption applies to approximately 50 CMVs employed by the applicants in conjunction with staging fireworks shows celebrating Independence Day during the period June 28–July 8, 2015. During this period, the CMV drivers employed by the applicants will be allowed to exclude off-duty and sleeper-berth time of any length from the calculation of the 14 hours. These drivers will not be allowed to drive after accumulating a total of 14 hours of on-duty time, following 10 consecutive hours off duty, and will continue to be subject to the 11-hour driving time limit, and the 60- and 70-hour on-duty limits. These exemptions are effective during the period of June 28 through July 8, 2015.
FMCSA Issues Exemption from Windshield Sweep Requirement to HELP, Inc.
On June 22, 2015, FMCSA issued an exemption to HELP, Inc. that will allow the placement of its transponder systems at the bottom of windshields on CMVs. The exemption will enable motor carriers to mount the HELP, Inc. transponder systems lower in the windshield than is currently permitted by the agency’s regulations in order to utilize a mounting location that maximizes the device’s ability to send and receive roadside data. The exemption is effective June 22, 2015 through June 22, 2017.
FMCSA Renews DOE 30 Minute Rest Break Exemption
Also on June 22, 2015, FMCSA issued an exemption renewal allowing Department of Energy’s (DOE) contract motor carriers and their employee-drivers transporting security-sensitive radioactive materials to be treated the same as drivers transporting explosives. The exempted drivers will be allowed to use 30 minutes or more of on-duty ”attendance time” to meet the HOS rest break requirements providing they do not perform any other work during the break. The exemption is effective June 30, 2015 through June 30, 2017.
FMCSA Announces Changes to Hazmat Safety Permit Enforcement Policy
On June 19, 2015, FMCSA published an amendment to the agency’s enforcement policy of the Hazardous Materials Safety Permit (HMSP) program. First, FMCSA will fully utilize the agency’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) as part of the HMSP review process. Additionally, FMCSA instituted an ongoing requirement to conduct comprehensive investigations for HMSP motor carriers with insufficient data in SMS. FMCSA will use SMS scores to provide enhanced oversight of HMSP holders, to identify poor-performing carriers for a safety fitness compliance review, and to provide grounds for suspension or revocation. Both of these processes afford the motor carrier the right to administrative review and the opportunity to present corrective action. The changes to the enforcement policy are effective August 18, 2015.
Bee Transporters Granted Exemption from 30 Minute Rest Break Requirement
Also on June 19, 2015, FMCSA issued an exemption from the 30 minute rest break requirement for CMV drivers transporting bees. The exemption request was submitted by the California Farm Bureau Federation, who argued that the exemption was necessary to protect the health of the bees. The exemption is effective June 19, 2015 through June 19, 2017.
FMCSA Updates Level VI OOSC Reference in Regulations
On June 18, 2015, FMCSA issued a final rule, updating the agency’s incorporation by reference of CVSA’sNorth American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria and Level VI Inspection Procedures and Out-of-Service Criteria for Commercial Highway Vehicles Transporting Transuranics and Highway Route Controlled Quantities of Radioactive Materials as defined in 49 CFR part 173.403. The reference, which must be completed annually, now reflects the 2015 version of the document. The update was effective June 18, 2015.
FMCSA Issues 30 Minute Rest Break Exemption to OS/OW Drivers
Also on June 18, 2015, FMCSA issued an exemption to all specialized carriers and drivers responsible for the transportation of loads that exceed normal weight and dimensional limits— oversize/ overweight (OS/OW) loads— and require a permit issued by a government authority, to be exempt from the 30-minute rest break requirement. The exemption, submitted by the Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association (SC&RA), is effective June 18, 2015 through June 18, 2017.
FMCSA Proposes New FMVSS Certification Label Requirement
On June 17, 2015, FMCSA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) by requiring U.S.-domiciled motor carriers engaged in interstate commerce to use only CMVs that display a certification label affixed by the vehicle manufacturer or a U.S. Department of Transportation Registered Importer, indicating that the vehicle satisfied all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) in effect at the time of manufacture. If the certification label is missing, the motor carrier must obtain, and a driver upon demand present, a letter issued by the vehicle manufacturer stating that the vehicle met all applicable FMVSS in effect at the time of manufacture. Comments are due August 3, 2015.
UCR Board Meeting Announced
On June 16, 2015, FMCSA announced that the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) Plan Board of Directors will meeting on July 9, 2015. The meeting is open to the public via conference call.
FMCSA Renews 30 Minute Rest Break Exemption for Livestock Haulers
On June 12, 2015, FMCSA issued an exemption renewal for CMV drivers transporting livestock from the 30 minute rest break requirement. The exemption is effective June 12, 2015 through June 12, 2017.
FMCSA Issues CDL Exemption to C.R. England
On June 11, 2015, FMCSA issued an exemption to C.R. England from the provisions in 49 CFR 383.25(a)(1) that require a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holder to be accompanied by a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder with the proper CDL class and endorsements, seated in the front seat of the vehicle while the CLP holder performs behind-the-wheel training on public roads or highways. Under the terms and conditions of this exemption, a CLP holder who has documentation of passing the CDL skills test may drive a commercial motor vehicle for C.R. England without being accompanied by a CDL holder in the front seat. The exemption enables CLP holders to drive as part of a team and have the same regulatory flexibility that 49 CFR 383 provides for C.R. England’s team drivers with CDLs. The exemption is effective June 11, 2015 through June 12, 2017.
Update on Other Rulemakings of Interest
On June 15, 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 delayed slightly, September 9, 2015 to September 17, 2015. The NPRM was sent to the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) on June 23, 2015 for review. OMB has 90 days to review the proposal.
- CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Final Rule – publication is still scheduled for December 14, 2015.
- ELD Final Rule – publication is still scheduled for September 30, 2015.
- MAP-21 Enhancements to the Unified Registration System NPRM – publication is still scheduled for April of 2016.
- MAP-21 Prohibition of Coercion Final Rule – publication is still scheduled for September 25, 2015.
- FMCSA/NHTSA Joint Rule on Heavy Vehicle Speed Limiters – publication is scheduled for to August 20, 2015.
- Entry-Level Driver Training NPRM – publication is scheduled for October 15, 2015.
- Motorcoach Rollover Structural Integrity Final Rule – publication is still scheduled for December 2015.
- Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium-and Heavy-Duty Vehicles and Work Trucks NPRM –the projected publication date, March 31, 2015, has passed.
- Wetlines Final Rule – publication has been delayed, from October 26, 2015 to November 24, 2015.