Regulatory Updates – October 16, 2015

Update on Relevant U.S. Regulations

NHTSA Grants F-CAM Petition, Initiates Rulemaking

On October 16, 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that the agency is granting a petition from several safety groups to investigate establishing a safety standard to require automatic forward collision avoidance and mitigation systems on certain heavy vehicles. The petition was submitted on February 19, 2015 by the following organizations: the Truck Safety Coalition, the Center for Auto Safety, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, and Road Safe America. The agency will initiate a rulemaking procedure on the topic.

PHMSA Announces to Meetings

On October 14, 2015, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) announced two meetings that will take place on November 12, 2015.

  • PHMSA will hold a meeting to discuss proposals in preparation for the 48th session of the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, which will be held November 30 through December 9, 2015, in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • PHMSA will host a meeting of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to discuss proposals for the 30th session of the United Nations Sub-committee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals, which will be held December 9 through 11, 2015, in Geneva, Switzerland.

FMCSA Issues NPRM in Response to CVSA Petitions

On October 7, 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) addressing a number of outstanding CVSA petitions, as well as requests from ATA and NTSB. The NPRM proposed a series of changes and technical corrections to Parts 393, 396, and Appendix G. Specifically, the Agency proposes to:

  • add a definition of ‘‘major tread groove;’’
  • revise the rear license plate lamp requirement;
  • provide specific requirements regarding when violations or defects noted on a roadside inspection report need to be corrected;
  • amend Appendix G to the FMCSRs;
  • amend the periodic inspection rules to eliminate the option for motor carriers to use a violation— free roadside inspection report;
  • eliminate introductory text from Appendix G to the FMCSRs because the discussion of the differences between the North American Standard Inspection out-of-service criteria and FMCSA’s periodic inspection criteria is unnecessary.

Comments are due December 7, 2015.

NHTSA Issues ANPRM, Solicits Input on Rear Impact / Underride Guards

On October 6, 2015, NHTSA published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) related to rear impact (underride) guards. The ANPRM reopens a previous request for comments in response to a petition submitted to the agency by the Truck Safety Coalition, asking NHTSA to consider making amendments to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) relating to underride guards. Comments are now due November 5, 2015.

Other Items of Interest

FMCSA Releases Report on SMS

On October 8, 2015, FMCSA released a report, required by Congress, on the agency’s Safety Measurement System (SMS). According to FMCSA, the report confirms that the SMS is sufficient to allow FMCSA to identify high-risk motor carriers. FMCSA found that SMS effectively identifies motor carriers involved in 90 percent of the crashes that occur annually. Further, those carriers identified as high-risk by SMS continue to have crash rates that are twice the national average.

Update on Exemptions

Exemptions Granted

  • DOD 30-minute Rest Break Exemption Renewal – On October 7, 2015, FMCSA issued a notice renewing the Department of Defense’s (DOD) exemption from the minimum 30-minute rest break provision of the Agency’s hours-of-service (HOS) regulations for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers working under contract to the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC). The exemption will enable SDDC’s contract motor carriers and their employee drivers engaged in the transportation of weapons, munitions, and sensitive/ classified cargo to have the same regulatory flexibility that 49 CFR 395.1(q) provides for drivers transporting explosives. The exempted drivers will be allowed to use 30 minutes or more of attendance time to meet the HOS rest break requirements, providing they do not perform any other work during the break. This exemption is effective from October 22, 2015, through October 21, 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.