Regulatory Updates – May 26, 2017

Update on Relevant U.S. Regulations

FMCSA Announces MCSAC Meeting

On May 26, 2017, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced a meeting of the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) taking place in Washington, DC on June 12-13, 2017. The committee will discuss and make recommendations to the agency concerning automated commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), the development of the agency’s strategic plan and review of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). Attendance is open to the public

FMCSA Seeks Comment on Hazardous Materials Safety Permits

Also on May 26, 2017, FMCSA  announced its plan to submit an information collection request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The collection is an extension of an existing ICR titled “Hazardous Materials Safety Permits” and requires companies with safety permits to develop communications plans that track shipments as well as keep records of such shipments for six months, either physically or electronically. Comments are due by July 26, 2017.

FMCSA Delays Rule for New CMV Drivers

On May 23, 2017, FMCSA published a notice delaying the effective date for a final rule creating minimum entry-level driver training standards. The final rule falls within the 60-day window of the presidential memorandum placing a regulatory freeze on rules that have been published in the Federal Register but had not yet taken effect. The effective date of the rule is delayed until June 5, 2017.

FMCSA Announces UCR Plan Board Meeting

On May 17, 2017, FMCSA announced a meeting of the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) Board of Directors on May 25, 2017. The board continued its work developing and implementing the UCR plan and agreement. Attendance was open to the public.

CVSA Petitions and Comments to Rulemakings

CVSA Petitions FMCSA To Clarify Definition of Utility Service Vehicle

On May 17, 2017, CVSA petitioned FMCSA to clarify the definition of a utility service vehicle by including commercial motor vehicles servicing broadband and wireless utilities. CVSA pointed to correspondence between FMCSA and the National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) in which the agency noted that it considers broadband internet and wireless services to be analogous to utilities such as telephone, television and cable as rationale for expanding the current definition. The clarification will help bring greater uniformity to the enforcement process.

Update on Exemptions

CVSA Submits Comments Opposing ELD Exemption

On May 17, 2017, CVSA submitted comments responding to a request from G4S Secure Solutions (G4S) for an exemption from ELD requirements. CVSA opposed the exemption because G4S did not demonstrate a clear and critical need for a regulatory exemption from the ELD mandate. Moreover, we cautioned that granting G4S an exemption impedes consistent adoption of the ELD requirement and could result in a flood of exemption applications to the agency.

FMCSA Grants Exemption for Securement Ties to IITR

On May 15, 2017, FMCSA announced its decision to grant the International Institute of Towing and Recovery’s (IITR) application for a limited five year exemption allowing its operators to secure cars, trucks and vans using four tiedowns, two of which are fixed and two adjustable, rather than using two adjustable tiedowns. IITR argues that its securement system prevents any forward or backward movement of a disabled vehicle and exceeds FMCSA’s minimum tiedown requirement. The exemption is effective May 8, 2017-May 8, 2022.

APA Requests Exemption from the 14th Hour Rule

Also on May 15, 2017, FMCSA announced that the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) requested an exemption for a member company, Pyro Shows of Alabama, Inc., from the prohibition on driving CMVs after the 14th hour after the driver comes on duty. Comments are due by June 14, 2017.

CVSA Active Exemption Tracker

CVSA maintains a list of active exemptions issued by FMCSA. Members can access the document by logging into their CVSA member account and clicking on the “Exemptions Tracker” tab at the top of the page.

Other Items of Interest

Trump Administration Releases Fiscal 2018 Budget

On May 23, 2017, the Trump Administration released its fiscal 2018 budget, the first step in the budget process and subject to significant revisions during congress’s appropriations development. The budget includes full funding for Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) grants at $374.8 million. This is the same amount that was envisioned in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST) for fiscal 2018 and allocates the same amounts in each of the grant programs:

  • $298.9 million request for MCSAP Formula
  • $43.1 million requested for High Priority
  • $31.8 million requested for CDL Program
  • $1 million for Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator Training

Similarly, the President’s budget provides for equivalent levels of FMCSA administrative expenses as authorized in FAST, with $283 million. This includes personnel costs, administrative infrastructure and information technology programs.