January 21, 2020

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 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?

On June 10, 2019 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Published a Request for Information Request for Information Concerning Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Detention Times During Loading and Unloading

DATES: Comments on this notice must be received on or before September 9, 2019


  1.  Are data currently available that can accurately record loading, unloading, and delay times?
  2.  Is there technology available that could record and delineate prompt loading and unloading times versus the extended delays sometimes experienced by drivers?
  3.  How can delay times be captured and recorded in a systematic, comparable manner?
  4.  Could systematic collection and publication of loading, unloading, and delay times be useful in driver or carrier business decisions and help to reduce loading, unloading, and delay times?
  5.  What should FMCSA use as an estimate of reasonable loading/ unloading time? Please provide a basis for your response.
  6.  How do contract arrangements between carriers and shippers address acceptable wait times? Do these arrangements include penalties for delays attributable to a carrier or shipper?
  7.  What actions by FMCSA, within its current statutory authority, would help to reduce loading, unloading, and delay times?

On May 28, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Requesting Comments on the Safe Integration of Automated Driving Systems-Equipped Commercial Motor Vehicles

DATES: : Comments on this document must be received on or before August 26, 2019


On April 24, 2017, FMCSA held a public listening session to solicit information on issues relating to the design, development, testing, and integration of ADS-equipped CMVs. The listening session provided interested parties an opportunity to share their views and any data or analysis on this topic with Agency representatives. The Agency also invited interested parties to submit written comments by July 17, 2017. For further information on this see public docket FMCSA–2017–0114, at www.regulations.gov.

FMCSA also commissioned the Department’s Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe) to conduct a preliminary review of the FMCSRs to identify regulations that relate to the development and safe introduction of ADS. Volpe’s final report is titled ‘‘Review of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations for Automated Commercial Vehicles: Preliminary Assessment of Interpretation and Enforcement Challenges, Questions, and Gaps,’’ report number MCSA–RRT–17–013, August 2017 is available in public docket, FMCSA– 2017–0114, at www.regulations.gov.

On March 26, 2018, FMCSA published ‘‘Request for Comments [RFC] Concerning Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) Which May Be a Barrier to the Safe Testing and Deployment of Automated Driving Systems-Equipped Commercial Motor Vehicles on Public Roads’’ (83 FR 12933). The document solicited public comments on existing FMCSRs that may need to be updated, modified, or eliminated to facilitate the safe introduction of ADS-equipped CMVs. Further, FMCSA requested comments on certain FMCSRs likely to be affected as ADS- equipped CMVs appear on our roadways.


The Agency requested responses to the following issues and questions:

1. Do the FMCSRs require a human driver?

1.1. How should FMCSA ensure that an ADS-equipped CMV only operates consistent with the ODD for the ADS equipped on the vehicle?

1.2. What are manufacturers’ and motor carriers’ plans for when and how Levels 4 and 5 ADS-equipped CMVs will become commercially available?

1.3. Should FMCSA consider amending or augmenting the definition of ‘‘driver’’ and/or ‘‘operator’’ in 49 CFR 390.5 or define a term such as ‘‘ADS driver’’ to reduce the potential for misinterpretation of the requirements? 

2. CDL Endorsements?

2.1. Should a CDL endorsement be required of individuals operating an ADS-equipped CMV?

2.2. If so, what should be covered in the knowledge and/or skills test associated with an ADS endorsement?

2.3. What would be the impacts on SDLAs?

2.4. Should a driver be required to have specialized training for ADS-equipped CMVs? 2.5. In an operational model that has an individual remotely monitoring multiple CMVs, should the Agency impose limitations on the number of vehicles a remote driver monitors?

2.6. Is there any reason why a dedicated or stand-by remote operator should not be subject to existing driver qualifications?

3. Drivers’ Hours of Service (HOS) Rules

3.1. Should HOS rule changes be considered if ADS technology performs all the driving tasks while a human is on-duty, not driving; off-duty or in the sleeper berth; or physically remote from the CMV?

3.2. Should the HOS requirements apply to both onboard and remote operators?

3.3. If so, how should HOS be recorded when an individual is not physically in control of the vehicle?

4. Medical Qualifications for Human Operators

4.1. Should some of the physical qualification rules be eliminated or made less stringent for humans remotely monitoring or potentially controlling ADS-equipped CMVs?

4.2. If so, which of the requirements should be less restrictive for human operators who would take control of an ADS-equipped CMV remotely?

4.3. Should the Agency consider less restrictive rules for humans who have the benefit of ADS technology to assist them in controlling the vehicle (e.g., technologies that would enable individuals with limb impairments to operate at a level comparable to individuals without such impairments)?

5. Distracted Driving and Monitoring

5.1. How should the prohibition against distracted driving (i.e., texting, hand-held cell phone) apply to onboard operators responsible for taking control of the CMV under certain situations, and to remote operators with similar responsibilities?

6. Safe Driving and Drug and Alcohol Testing

6.1. Should FMCSA consider revising its rules to ensure that (1) any human exercising control of an ADS-equipped vehicle must continue to comply with all the rules under Part 392, and (2) a CMV under the control of a Level 4 or Level 5 ADS must satisfy the operational rules?

6.2. For example, should FMCSA require that the ADS be capable of identifying highway-rail grade crossings and stopping the CMV prior to crossing railroad tracks to avoid collisions with trains, or going onto a highway-rail grade crossing without having sufficient space to travel completely through the crossing without stopping?

6.3. For scenarios in which the control of the ADS-equipped CMV alternates, or may alternate, between a human and the technology, should FMCSA require that both the human operator and ADS comply with the applicable operational rules?

7. Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance

7.1. What qualifications should be required of the individual performing the pre-trip inspection?

7.2. What kind of routine or scheduled inspections should be performed and what types of ADS-related maintenance records should be required?

7.3. Should the inspection period be more or less frequent than annual for an ADS- equipped CMV?

7.4. Should inspections be mileage-based or time-based (e.g., 1,000 miles, 3 months or 1,000 hours of operation)?

7.5. Should FMCSA impose general requirements for motor carrier personnel responsible for ADS-related inspection, repair, and maintenance tasks similar to the Agency’s brake inspector qualification requirements?

7.6. How could FMCSA ensure that motor carriers apply safety-critical software updates?

8. Roadside Inspections

8.1. Should motor carriers be required to notify FMCSA that they are operating Level 4 or 5 ADS- equipped CMVs?

8.2. If so, how should the carrier notify FMCSA?

8.3. Should FMCSA require markings identifying the ADS Level of a vehicle?

8.4. Should the Agency require motor carriers to utilize ADS-equipped CMVs that have a malfunction indicator?

8.5. Should the Agency require that motor carriers deploying ADS-equipped CMVs ensure the vehicle can pull over in response to Federal and State officials or move out of the way of first-responders?

8.6. How might that be achieved, and at what cost?

8.7. How would roadside enforcement personnel know that a vehicle can no longer operate safely?

8.8. Absent an FMVSS, how could standard indications be provided to enforcement personnel?

9. Cybersecurity

9.1. What types of safety and cargo security risks may be introduced with the integration of ADS- equipped CMVs?

9.2. What types of rules should FMCSA consider to ensure that motor carriers’ safety management practices adequately address cybersecurity?

10. Confidentiality of Shared Information

10.1. As the development of ADS technology continues, the Agency believes there is a need to learn about the performance limitations of these systems. FMCSA draws a distinction between information about performance limitations (e.g., how well does the ADS keep the vehicle in its lane and under what environmental conditions, etc.) and details about the system design (e.g., the specific types of sensors, or the arrays of sensors and cameras used for input to the central processing unit for the ADS). To what extent do ADS developers believe performance data should be considered proprietary and withheld from the public?

10.2. Are the Agency’s current processes under 49 CFR 389.9 for submission and protection of confidential business information in the context of a rulemaking sufficient to allow ADS developers and motor carriers to communicate essential information to the Agency regarding the operation of ADS?

10.3. If not, how should those processes be modified?

FMCSA would like to build upon best practices from the private sector in providing guidance to motor carriers on safe practices for the integration of ADS-equipped CMVs. The Agency would consider use of private sector standards to ensure cost-effective, performance-based safety requirements

On August 8, 2018, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration Withdrew an ANPRM on Qualifications of Drivers with Moderate to Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea (49 CFR 391)

Conclusion: The Agencies believe that current safety programs and FRA’s rulemaking addressing fatigue risk management are the appropriate avenues to address OSA.  The FMCSA will consider an update to its January 2015 ‘‘Bulletin to Medical Examiners and Training Organizations Regarding Obstructive Sleep Apnea’’ regarding the physical qualifications standard and related advisory criteria concerning respiratory dysfunction, specifically how the standard applies to drivers who may have OSA. The Agency would use the updated August 2016 Medical Review Board1 recommendations as a basis for updating the bulletin.