Regulatory Updates – May 17, 2013

Update on Relevant Regulations

FMCSA Seeks Comments on Motorcoach Safety Information Request

Earlier this week, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a notice indicating that the agency plans to submit an Information Collection Request regarding motorcoach safety to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for approval. According to the notice, the agency would like to “assess the current levels of voluntary compliance by motorcoach operators to provide pre-trip safety awareness and emergency preparedness information to passengers and to obtain passenger opinions of the implementation of the pre-trip program and any recommended improvements”. If approved, the agency would then use the information gathered to inform future initiatives, policies, and rules. FMCSA will also share the information with the National Transportation Safety Board and Congress. Comments on the Information Collection Request are due July 15, 2013.

FMCSA Issues NPRM on CMV Medical Examiners Requirements

On May 10, FMCSA issued a NPRM making adjustments to the new certified medical examiner program. In the proposal, FMCSA seeks to require that medical examiners who are conducting CMV driver exams use the agency’s newly developed Medical Examination Report Form, MCSA–5875, in place of the current form, and to use Form MCSA–5876 for a medical examiner’s certificate. In addition, medical examiners would be required to report results of all completed CMV drivers’ physicals to FMCSA by close of business on the day of the examination, using the new online National Registry. The rule also proposes to transmit driver identification, examination results, and restriction information from the National Registry system to the State Driver Licensing Agencies, providing States and enforcement officials with more up-to-date and accurate information regarding a driver’s medical qualification status. Comments on the proposal are due July 9, 2013.

FMCSA Proposes GCWR Definition Change

On May 7, FMCSA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and Request for Comments proposing to change the definition of the term “gross combination weight rating’’ (GCWR). The revised definition would clarify that GCWR is: “the greater of: the GCWR specified by the manufacturer of the power unit, if displayed on the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) certification label required by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), or the sum of the gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWRs) or gross vehicle weights (GVWs) of the power unit and towed unit(s), or any combination thereof, that produces the highest value.” Comments on the proposed definition change are due July 8, 2013.

URS Final Rule Due Early June

According to the most recent DOT Report on Significant Rulemakings, a Final Rule that would establish a new Unified Registration System (URS) to replace four legacy systems in support of FMCSA´s safety and commercial oversight responsibilities is scheduled to be published on June 5. The rule had been slated for publication in May, but the OMB clearance has taken longer than originally anticipated. FMCSA projects that OMB will sign off on the rule by May 25.

EOBR/ELD and Speed Limiter Rules Delayed

Also in the May DOT Report on Significant Rulemakings, the projected publication dates for rules on electronic logging devices (ELDs), also called EOBRs, and speed limiters were delayed. The ELD/EOBR rule, which was slated for a September publication, is now expected to be published in November and made final in early 2014. The speed limiters rule, meanwhile, was sent to the Office of the Secretary of Transportation (OST) for review in March. However, in April, OST sent the proposal back to NHTSA for additional work. Publication of that rule has been pushed back, from June of this year to December.