Regulatory Updates – May 29, 2015

Update on Relevant U.S. Regulations

FMCSA Seeks to Extend ICR on Impact of Entry Level Driver Training Requirements

On May 28, 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a notice and request for comment on the agency’s intent to extend its current information collection request (ICR) on the paperwork burden imposed by its regulations pertaining to the training of certain entry-level drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). Since 2004, FMCSA regulations have prohibited the operation of certain CMVs by individuals with less than one year of CMV-driving experience until they obtain this training. Comments are due July 27, 2015.

FMCSA Seeks ICR on CDL Program

Also on May 28, 2015, FMCSA issued a notice and request for comment on the agency’s request to initiate a new ICR titled, “State Commercial Driver’s License Program Plan.” MAP-21 requires States to submit a plan to the Secretary describing the actions the State will take to address any deficiencies in the State’s commercial driver’s license (CDL) program. This ICR is needed to ensure that the States are complying with notification and recordkeeping requirements. Comments are due June 29, 2015.

FMCSA Publishes Final Rule on Lease and Interchange of Passenger-Carrying CMVs

On May 27, 2015, FMCSA published a final rule regarding the lease and interchange of passenger-carrying CMVs. The final rule is intended to identify the motor carrier operating each passenger-carrying CMV and ensure that a lessor surrenders control of the CMV for the full term of the lease or temporary exchange of vehicles and drivers. This will enable FMCSA, the National Transportation Safety Board, and its Federal and State partners to identify motor carriers transporting passengers in interstate commerce and correctly assign responsibility to these entities for regulatory violations discovered during inspections, compliance investigations, and crash investigations.  The compliance date is January 1, 2017.

FMCSA Issues Regulatory Guidance Concerning Passenger Endorsement

Also on May 27, 2015, FMCSA issued regulatory guidance concerning passenger endorsement requirements. The guidance is in response to a question on whether a CDL passenger endorsement is required for drivers of certain custom motorcoaches designed or used to transport fewer than 16 passengers, including the driver. The guidance explains that a passenger endorsement is required because the vehicle is intended to transport passengers rather than cargo. The guidance is effective May 27, 2015.

FMCSA Announces UCR Board Meeting

On May 19, 2015, FMCSA announced that the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) Plan Board of Directors will be meeting on June 10, 2015, in Chattanooga, TN. The purpose of the meeting is to continue the board’s work in developing and implementing the UCR Plan and Agreement.

PHMSA Publishes Updates on Special Permits

On May 20 and 21, 2015, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published updates on Special Permit Applications.

Update on Other Rulemakings of Interest

On May 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 has been delayed one month, from August 17, 2015 to September 9, 2015.
  • 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 – the Final Rule has been transmitted to the Office of the Secretary (OST) for review and is scheduled for publication September 25, 2015.
  • FMCSA/NHTSA Joint Rule on Heavy Vehicle Speed Limiters – publication has been delayed one month, from July 27, 2015 to August 27, 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.
  • Electronic Stability Control Systems for Heavy Vehicles Final Rule – publication has been delayed one month, from May 7, 2015 to June 8, 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 August 25, 2015 to October 26, 2015.

Other Items of Interest

Daimler Trucks Submits Petition Regarding Camera Systems

Daimler Trucks North America has petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), asking the agency to permit the use of camera-monitor systems as an alternative to rearview mirrors on the sides of the vehicle. In the petition, Daimler argues that modern camera-based systems are as effective, if not better, than the current rearview mirrors, and can reduce the aerodynamic drag the current mirrors create on each side of the tractor. In addition, according to the petition, camera systems expand the driver’s fields of view, giving them better viewing angles and eliminating blind spots.