September 28, 2020

On February 24, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Published a Final Rule Incorporation by Reference; North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria; Hazardous Materials Safety Permits (49 CFR 385)

SUMMARY: FMCSA amends its Hazardous Materials Safety Permit regulations to incorporate by reference the April 1, 2019, edition of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) ‘‘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.’’ The Out-of-Service Criteria provide uniform enforcement tolerances for roadside inspections to enforcement personnel nationwide, including FMCSA’s State partners.

The 2019 edition identifies (1) driver- related violations of the FMCSRs that are so severe as to warrant placing the CMV driver out of service, (2) vehicle equipment-related violations of the FMCSRs that are so severe as to warrant placing the CMV out of service, and (3) unsafe conditions in the transportation of hazardous materials. The purpose of the publication is to provide inspection criteria for Federal and State motor carrier safety enforcement personnel to promote uniform and consistent inspection procedures of CMVs operated in commerce.

Thirteen updates distinguish the April 1, 2019, handbook edition from the 2018 edition. The updates are all described in detail in the NPRM (85 FR at 52434–36). The incorporation by reference of the 2019 edition does not impose new regulatory requirements. The various changes

DATES: This final rule is effective March 25, 2020. The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the regulations is as of March 25, 2020. Petitions for Reconsideration of this final rule must be submitted to the FMCSA Administrator no later than March 25, 2020.

On January 21, 2020 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Published a Decision that the Hours of Services Provisions of 49 CFR 593 Preempted California’s Meal and Rest Break Rules

The Preemption Decision  

  1.  Section 31141 Expressly Preempts State Law Therefore the Presumption Against Preemption Does Not Apply
  2. The California Meal and Rest Break (MRB) Rules, as Applied to Drivers of Passenger- Carrying CMVs, Are Laws or Regulations ‘‘on Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety’’ Within the Meaning of 49 U.S.C. 31141
  3. The MRB Rules Are ‘‘Additional to or More Stringent Than’’ the Agency’s HOS Regulations for Passenger-Carrying Vehicles Within the Meaning of Section 31141
  4. The MRB Rules Have No Safety Benefits That Extend Beyond Those Provided by the FMCSRs
  5. The MRB Rules are Incompatible with the Federal HOS Regulations for Passenger-Carrying CMVs.
  6. Enforcement of the MRB Rules Would Cause an Unreasonable Burden on Interstate Commerce

Accordingly, FMCSA grants ABA’s petition for preemption and determines that the MRB rules are preempted pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 31141. Effective the date of this decision, California may no longer enforce the MRB rules with respect to drivers of passenger-carrying CMVs subject to FMCSA’s HOS rules.

On December 16, 2019, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Published a Request for Comments on Recission of the Hearing and Speaking Requirements for the Drivers of Interstate Motor Carriers (49 CFR 591)

SUMMARY EXERPT: FMCSA requests public comments on the National Association of the Deaf’s (NAD) petition for rulemaking to rescind the requirement for interstate drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) to be able to hear. NAD also requests that FMCSA amend the requirement that interstate drivers be able to speak, and the rule prohibiting the use of interpreters during the administration of the commercial driver’s license (CDL) skills test.

DATES:  Comments should be filed on or before February 20, 2020.

On October 2, 2019, the FMCSA Published an NPRM on Incorporation by Reference; North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria; Hazardous Materials Safety Permits (49 CFR 385)

SUMMARY: FMCSA proposes to amend its Hazardous Materials Safety Permits regulations to incorporate by reference the updated Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) handbook. The Out-of- Service Criteria provide enforcement personnel nationwide, including FMCSA’s State partners, with uniform enforcement tolerances for roadside inspections. Currently, the regulations reference the April 1, 2018, edition of the handbook. Through this document, FMCSA proposes to incorporate by reference the April 1, 2019, edition.

The 2019 edition identifies (1) driver- related violations of the FMCSRs that are so severe as to warrant placing the CMV driver out of service, (2) vehicle equipment-related violations of the FMCSRs that are so severe as to warrant placing the CMV out of service, and (3) unsafe conditions in the transportation of hazardous materials. The purpose of the publication is to provide inspection criteria for Federal and State motor carrier safety enforcement personnel to promote uniform and consistent inspection procedures of CMVs operated in commerce.

The 2019 CVSA handbook contains 13 changes from the 2018 handbook.  These changes are enumerated and discussed in Section V or the NPRM. 

DATES: Comments must be received on or before November 1, 2019.

On August 5, 2019, the FMCSA published a Notice and Request for Comments on a Crash Preventability Determination Program

DATES:  Comments are due on or before October 4, 2019.

BACKGROUND: After 18 months of operating a Crash Preventability Demonstration Project, FMCSA has decided to operate a Crash Preventability Determination Program, using a streamlined process, and proposes to modify the Safety Measurement System to remove crashes found to be not preventable by the motor carrier from the prioritization algorithm and noting the not preventable determinations in the Pre- Employment Screening Program. 

The FMVSA review of the data collected during the demonstration program found that approximately 56 percent of the submitted Request for Data Reviews (RDRs) were eligible, meaning they were one of the eight crash types covered by the demonstration program. After reviewing the eligible crashes, FMCSA determined that approximately 93 percent were not preventable by the motor carrier.

The FMCSA made some changes to the original eight types of not-preventable crashes in the Demonstration Project.  It also eight added additional crash types to be included in the Crash Preventability Determination Program.

COMMENTS SOUGHT:  FMCSA seeks comments generally on the proposals in the Notice. FMCSA also seeks comments specifically on the following questions.

  1.  If you participated in the demonstration program, did you realize any new safety incentives to your operations? If so, how were they quantified?
  2. Would the ability to have not preventable crashes removed from the calculation of your Crash Indicator BASIC measure and percentile provide any new safety incentives to your operations?
  3. If you have not submitted a crash for a preventability determination, what were your reasons for not participating?