September 24, 2017

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.

On August 7, 2017, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Update its Rulemaking Procedures (49 CFR 389)

DATES: Comments must be received on or before October 6, 2017.

SUMMARY: The FMCSA proposes to amend its rulemaking procedures by revising the process for preparing and adopting rules, petitions, and direct final rules. Also, the Agency proposes to add new definitions, and makes general administrative corrections throughout its rulemaking procedures. These proposed actions are authorized under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

On August 3, 2017, the FMCSA Issued a Guidance Regarding Commercial Learner’s Permits (49 CFR 391)

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Guidance makes it clear that State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs)may accept applications for Commercial Learner Permits (CLPs)and administer the general knowledge test to individuals taking commercial motor vehicle driver training in that State, but who are not domiciled there, provided that: The SDLA administering the general knowledge test transmits the test results directly, securely, and electronically to the applicant’s State of domicile; and the State of domicile agrees to accept the test results and issue the CLP.  The Guidance will be on the FMCSA website through August 3, 2022, when it will either be withdrawn reissued for another period of up to five years, or incorporated into the FMCSA Regulations.

On July 22, 2016 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Published a Final Rule Implementing Several Provisions of the FAST Act in 49 CFR PARTS 365, 381, 383, 390, 391, 392, 393, 395, and 396.

DATES: This Final Rule is Effective July 22, 2016.  Petitions for Reconsideration must be received by August 22, 2016.

EXCERPTS:  V. Section-by-Section Analysis

Part 365–In §365.101, paragraph (j) is added to exempt pipeline welding trucks from the rules of part 365.

Part 381–In §381.300, paragraph (b) is revised, changing the timeframe from 2 years to 5 years. Section 381.317 is added to allow an application for exemption to be resubmitted if it has been denied.

Part 383–In §383.3, a new paragraph (i) is added to provide that a State may waive the requirement that a driver obtain a hazardous materials endorsement to transport diesel fuel under certain circumstances.

Part 390–FMCSA adds new §390.38 to exempt pipeline welding trucks from certain requirements of the FMCSRs. Paragraph (a) describes those parts of the FMCSRs from which the pipeline welding truck is exempt. Paragraph (b) provides a definition of ‘‘pipeline welding truck.’’ In §390.39, paragraph (b)(1) is revised to reflect changes in the statutes concerning exemptions found in State laws for covered farm vehicles.

Part 391–In §391.2, paragraph (e) is added to exempt drivers of pipeline welding trucks from the rules of part 391.

Part 392–In §392.1, the existing text is designated as paragraph (a), and a paragraph (b) is added to exempt drivers of pipeline welding trucks from the rules of part 392.

Part 393–In §393.1, paragraph (e) is added to exempt pipeline welding trucks from the rules of part 393.

Part 395–FMCSA makes a number of changes to §395.1 to exempt certain operations from aspects of the hours of service rules.

  • Paragraph (e)(1) is changed to provide that drivers of ready-mixed concrete delivery vehicles who are on duty for 14 consecutive hours may be exempt from the requirements of §395.8.
  • Section 395.1(t) is added to allow the driver of a ready-mixed concrete delivery vehicle to use 30-minutes or more of time spent waiting with the vehicle to meet the requirement for the 30-minute rest break in §395.3(a)(3)(ii).
  • Paragraphs (u) and (v) are added to exempt drivers engaged in the interstate transportation of bees or livestock, respectively, from the requirement for a 30-minute rest break.
  • FMCSA adds paragraph (w) to provide that on-duty time for the driver of a hi-rail vehicle does not include time in transportation to or from a duty assignment under certain circumstances.
  • Paragraph (x) exempts drivers of pipeline welding trucks from the rules of part 395.
  • The definitions in §395.2 are changed to conform to the changes in the statutes. FMCSA adds definitions of ‘‘hi- rail vehicle,’’ ‘‘livestock,’’ and ‘‘ready- mixed concrete delivery vehicle.’’ FMCSA changes the definition of ‘‘transportation of construction material and equipment’’ to increase the air mile radius to the normal work reporting location. The definition is also changed to allow the States to establish a different air mile radius limitation upon notice to the Administrator.
  • Section 395.8(a) is changed to allow a motor carrier to require the driver transporting a motor home or recreation vehicle trailer, in a driveaway-towaway operation, to record his or her records of duty status manually.

Part 396–In §396.1, paragraph (d) is added to exempt pipeline welding trucks from the rules of part 396.

On July 22, 2016 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Published a Final Rule Making General Amendments to Regulations Dealing with Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance, (49 CFR 393 and 396)

DATES: This Final Rule is Effective July 22, 2016.  Petitions for Reconsideration must be received by August 22, 2016.

In response to several petitions for rulemaking from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) and the American Trucking Associations (ATA), and two safety recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Agency:

  • Adds a definition of ‘‘major tread groove’’ and an illustration to indicate the location of tread wear indicators or wear bars on a tire signifying a major tread groove;
  • Revises the rear license plate lamp requirement to eliminate the requirement for an operable rear license plate lamp on vehicles when there is no rear license plate present;
  • Amends the regulations regarding tires to prohibit the operation of a vehicle with speed- restricted tires at speeds that exceed the rated limit of the tire;
  • Provides specific requirements regarding when violations or defects noted on an inspection report must be corrected;
  • Amends two appendixes to the FMCSRs to include provisions for the inspection of antilock braking systems (ABS) and automatic brake adjusters, speed-restricted tires, and motorcoach passenger seat mounting anchorages;
  • Amends the periodic inspection rules to eliminate the option for a motor carrier to satisfy the annual inspection requirement through a violation–free roadside inspection; and
  • Amends the inspector qualification requirements as a result of the amendments to the periodic inspection rules.

In addition, the Agency eliminates introductory regulatory text from an appendix 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.