Regulatory Updates – Sept. 13, 2013

Update on Relevant Regulations:

FMCSA Amends Hazmat Safety Permits, Incorporates OOSC By Reference

Today, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a Final Rule amending its Hazardous Materials Safety Permits rules to update the current incorporation by reference of the “North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria and Level VI Inspection Procedures and Out-of-Service Criteria for Commercial Highway Vehicles Transporting Transuranics and Highway Route Controlled Quantities of Radioactive Materials as defined in 49 CFR Part 173.403” (OOSC). The rule updates the reference to reflect the most recent version of the OOSC, the April 1, 2013 edition. The Final Rule is effective September 13.

FMCSA Issues DVIR Rule Correction

On September 6, FMCSA issued a series of technical corrections to its August 7 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding driver vehicle inspection reports (DVIR).

FMCSA Issues Guidance for Brokers and Freight Forwarders

On September 5, FMCSA announced guidance concerning the implementation of the registration and financial requirements for brokers and freight forwarders included in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP–21). Section 32915 of MAP–21 requires anyone acting as a broker or a freight forwarder and subject to FMCSA jurisdiction, including motor carriers, to register and obtain broker or freight forwarder authority from FMCSA. Section 32918 amended the financial security requirements applicable to property brokers and created new requirements for freight forwarders. FMCSA provides guidance for brokers and freight forwarders on how to comply with the new requirements and information regarding FMCSA’s enforcement of these provisions. In the guidance, which is effective October 1, 2013, FMCSA indicated that the agency will delay the October 1 deadline for brokers to increase their security bonds to $75,000 from $10,000. FMCSA will provide a 60-day phase-in period, beginning October 1, in order to allow industry to complete the necessary filings.

FMCSA Announces New Entrant Safety Assurance Operational Test

On September 4, FMCSA announced an operational test of procedural changes to the New Entrant Safety Assurance Program. The operational test began in July 2013 and will be in effect for up to 12 months. It is applicable to new entrant motor carriers domiciled in the States of California, Florida, Illinois, Montana, New York and the Canadian Provinces contiguous to Montana and New York. The operational test procedures allow FMCSA to complete an off-site safety audit of eligible new entrant motor carriers that can demonstrate basic safety management controls by submitting compliance documentation as requested by FMCSA. The purpose of the operational test is to compare off-site and on-site new entrant safety audits in terms of resource allocation and subsequent safety performance of new entrant motor carriers.

FMCSA Announces Uniform Fine Assessment Version 4.0

On September 3, FMCSA announced that the agency has begun using the Uniform Fine Assessment (UFA) Version 4.0 software to calculate the amounts of civil penalties for violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and Hazardous Materials Regulations. The UFA 4.0 software will be used to calculate penalties based on investigations that are initiated on or after August 12, 2013.

Other Items of Interest:

FMCSA Crash Accountability Study Complete, Under Agency Review

FMCSA has confirmed that the agency’s study on crash accountability has been completed and is currently under agency review. Once the study is approved internally, it will be peer-reviewed prior to being made public.

GAO Issues Report on PHMSA’s Wetlines Proposal

In a report issued September 11, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) did not properly consider the costs and benefits of a proposed mandate that tank truck lines be purged of flammable liquids. According to the GAO, PHMSA does not have the right processes in place to count how often collisions related to wetlines occur. The study was mandated by Congress in MAP-21 and PHMSA’s implementation of the rule was put on hold until the study’s completion.

Court Hears Arguments in CSA Court Challenge

On September 10, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit heard arguments in a case challenging the CSA program. The Alliance for Safe, Efficient and Competitive Truck Transportation has brought the case, arguing that a document outlining changes made to the SMS program constitutes a rule and that FMCSA did not follow proper regulatory processes in implementing the changes. FMCSA argues that the changes do not constitute a rule.

ATRI Seeking Driver Input on HOS Changes

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has begun its second phase of data collection on impacts from the recent changes to the Hours-of-Service rules. ATRI is asking CMV drivers to provide input on the changes through an online survey available on its website. The survey asks drivers about impacts related to miles, pay and on-duty hours since the changes to the 34-hour restart and the addition of the 30-minute rest break. ATRI will also initiate data collection from motor carriers to quantify productivity impacts resulting from the rules changes.