Regulatory Updates – November 30, 2015

Update on Relevant U.S. Regulations

FMCSA Issues Coercion Final Rule

On November 30, 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued its Final Rule on Prohibiting Coercion of Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers. The rule establishes regulations that prohibit motor carriers, shippers, receivers, or transportation intermediaries from coercing drivers to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in violation of certain provisions of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), including drivers’ hours-of-service (HOS) limits; the commercial driver’s license (CDL) regulations; drug and alcohol testing rules; and the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR). The rule includes procedures for drivers to report incidents of coercion to FMCSA, establishes rules of practice that the agency will follow in response to reports of coercion, and describes penalties that may be imposed on entities found to have coerced drivers. The Final Rule is effective January 29, 2016. Petitions for reconsideration are due December 30, 2015.

PHMSA Publishes Updates on Special Permits

On November 27, 2015, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published updates on Special Permit Applications.

PHMSA Issues Final Rule Making Technical Corrections to HMRs

On November 23, 2015, PHMSA issued a Final Rule making minor corrections and changes to the HMRs in response to requests for clarification that the agency received. The changes are non-substantive and do not impose new requirements. The Final Rule is effective December 23, 2015.

DOT Issues Update on Significant Rulemakings

On November 13, 2015, 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 just under a month, from November 4, 2015 to November 24, 2015.
  • CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Final Rule – publication has been delayed just under a month, from March 2, 2016 to March 28, 2016.
  • ELD Final Rule –publication has been delayed one month, from October 30, 2015 to November 30, 2015.
  • MAP-21 Enhancements to the Unified Registration System NPRM – publication has been delayed just over a month, from June 20, 2016 to August 2, 2016.
  • MAP-21 Prohibition of Coercion Final Rule – publication has been delayed on month, from October 29, 2015 to November 23, 2015. Final Rule was published November 30, 2015.
  • FMCSA/NHTSA Joint Rule on Heavy Vehicle Speed Limiters – publication has been delayed just over a month, from October 21, 2015 to December 3, 2015. The proposal is still under review at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
  • Entry-Level Driver Training NPRM – publication has been delayed just under one month, from December 11, 2015 to December 28, 2015. The NPRM was sent to the OMB on November 5, 2015.
  • State Inspection Programs for Passenger Carrier Vehicles Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) – publication has been delayed just under one month, from January 6, 2016 to January 29, 2016.
  • Motorcoach Rollover Structural Integrity Final Rule – publication is still scheduled for May 21, 2016.
  • Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 150 – Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) Communication NPRM – publication has been moved up about a month and a half, from May 30, 2016 to March 14, 2016. The NPRM was sent to the Office of the Secretary (OST) on November 2, 2015.
  • Wetlines Final Rule – after review, PHMSA proposes to withdraw the Final Rule, withdrawal has been delayed on month, from October 21, 2015 to November 20, 2015.

Update on Exemptions

ODOT Seeking CLP Exemption

On November 27, 2015, FMCSA issued a notice and request for comments on an exemption application received from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). ODOT is seeking a limited exemption from the commercial learner’s permit (CLP) requirement in 49 CFR 383.25(c). The regulation provides that the CLP be valid for no more than 180 days from the date of issuance. The State of issuance may renew the CLP for an additional 180 days without requiring the CLP holder to retake the general and endorsement knowledge tests. ODOT proposes that it be allowed to extend the 180-day timeline to one year. Comments are due December 28, 2015.

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

HOS Restart Suspension to Extend into 2016

FMCSA has indicated that the agency’s report of the restart rules, mandated by Congress, will likely be completed by February. FMCSA plans to submit the study to DOT’s Inspector General in December, and that office has 60 days to review the document. This means that the current suspension of HOS restart provision will remain in place for the first part of 2016.