Regulatory Updates — Sept. 27, 2013

Update on Relevant Regulations:

FMCSA Issues Rule on Tank Vehicle Definition

On September 26, the FMCSA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NRPM) to revise its definition of “tank vehicle.” According to the notice, commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders who operate such vehicles are required to obtain a tank vehicle endorsement. On May 9, 2011, FMCSA published a final rule on Commercial Driver’s License Testing and Commercial Learner’s Permit Standards” that included a new definition of tank vehicle which required additional drivers to obtain tank vehicle endorsements on their commercial learners’ permits (CLPs) and CDLs. After receiving numerous comments on the new definition, the Agency published guidance in the Federal Register to clarify the “tank vehicle” definition in May of this year. This NPRM revises the definition by incorporating the regulatory guidance published in May. Comments are due November 25.

PHMSA Publishes Updates on Special Permits

On September 26, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published several updates on Special Permit Applications.

PHMSA Proposes Rule Revoking Operating Authority for Non-payment of Penalties

On September 24, PHMSA published a NRPM in order to implement its authority to revoke operating authority from hazardous materials motor carriers who have failed to pay civil penalties within 90 days. The proposal also prohibits the motor carrier from engaging in hazmat operations “until payment has been made or an acceptable payment plan has been arranged.” Comments are due November 25.

FMCSA Proposed New Bus Leasing Requirements

On September 20, FMCSA released a NRPM adopting regulations governing the lease and interchange of passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicles (CMVs).  This rule proposes to identify the motor carrier operating a passenger-carrying CMV; ensure that a lessor surrenders control of the CMV for the full term of the lease or temporary exchange of CMVs and drivers; and require motor carriers prohibited from operating in interstate commerce to notify FMCSA in writing before leasing or otherwise transferring control of their vehicles to other carriers. The new policies are intended to enable FMCSA to more easily identify passenger carriers in interstate commerce and correctly assign safety responsibility to these entities for regulatory violations during inspections, comprehensive investigations and crash studies. Comments are due November 19.

FMCSA Withdraws CMV Training Requirements NPRM

On September 19, FMCSA published a notice withdrawing the agency’s December 2007 NRPM on Minimum Training Requirements for Entry-Level CMV Operators, announcing that a new rulemaking will be initiated. In the notice, FMCSA explains that the agency is withdrawing the 2007 proposal in response to feedback it received, deeming it inappropriate to move forward with a final rule based on the 2007 proposal. In addition, last year’s reauthorization legislation, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP–21), provided FMCSA with statutory direction on the issue of entry level driver training. FMCSA has tasked its Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) to provide ideas the Agency should consider in implementing the MAP–21 requirements. The agency will issue a new rulemaking on the issue.

Other Items of Interest:

FMCSA To Miss Deadline on 34-Hour Restart Study

Earlier this month, FMCSA acknowledged that the agency would not meet the September 30 deadline for completing the 34-hour restart study mandated by MAP-21. The announcement came in response to a letter sent to the agency by four Congressmen, inquiring on the status of the study.