Update on Relevant Regulations:
FMCSA Finalizes Rule to Shut Down Carriers based on Patterns of Safety Violations
On January 22, FMCSA issued a Final Rule giving the agency more authority to shut down motor carriers who have displayed a history of purposely violating safety regulations. According to a statement from FMCSA, the agency intends to “apply the rule in egregious cases in which it finds that a motor carrier has committed a pattern of unsafe practices, even if that particular investigation alone does not result in a downgrade of the carrier’s safety fitness rating. The new rule complements a rule adopted by the agency in 2012 to apply out-of-service orders to reincarnated, or chameleon, carriers and to consolidate their enforcement histories.”
Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse Rule Clears OMB
On January 27, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) cleared FMCSA’s proposed Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse rulemaking. In the rule, FMCSA proposes to create a central database for verified positive drug and alcohol test results of CDL holders and refusals by drivers to submit to testing. The agency estimated that the proposal would appear in the Federal Register 14 days after clearing OMB, which would be around February 10.
Industry Association Petitions FMCSA for Exemption from Window Tinting Rules
The International Window Film Association (IWFA) has filed an application for exemption from window tinting requirement with FMCSA, arguing that windows with more tint will promote driver comfort and reduce eye strain. Currently, the regulations require that tint be clear and restrict light transmission by no less than 70 percent. IWFA is seeking an exemption to restrict light transmission by 50 percent. Comments on the exemption request are due February 24.
Other Items of Interest:
FMCSA Releases 34-Hour Restart Study
Yesterday, FMCSA released its findings regarding the efficacy of the agency’s new 34-hour restart provision. The study, which was mandated in MAP-21, measured the rule’s impact on drivers, measuring sleep, reaction time, sleepiness, and driving performance. The study was conducted by the Washington State University Sleep and Performance Research Center and Philadelphia-based Pulsar Informatics, Inc., and, according to FMCSA, it is one of the largest real-world studies ever conducted with CMV drivers. The study included 106 participants, 1,260 days of data and nearly 415,000 miles of driving. The study concluded that the restart provision in the current HOS rule is more effective at combatting fatigue than the prior version. Both ATA and OOIDA have issued statements questioning the validity of the study’s findings.
FMCSA Announces MCSAC Meeting
On January 28, FMCSA announced that the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) will meet on February 10–11, to discuss recommendations the agency should consider for reauthorization of the surface transportation legislation. On February 12, MCSAC’s Compliance, Safety and Accountability (CSA) subcommittee will convene. The meetings are open to the public.
ATRI Releases White Paper on CSA
On January 28, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), released a white paper entitled Compliance, Safety Accountability: Assessing the New Safety Measurement System and Its Implications – 2013 Update. According to a statement from ATRI, the white paper expands on ATRI’s previous CSA impacts research among commercial drivers and enforcement personnel. Approximately 7,800 driver responses were analyzed over a three-year period examining perceptions, attitudes and knowledge of CSA. In addition, ATRI partnered with the CVSA to obtain a baseline level of enforcement personnel knowledge of CSA.
Click here to visit the Grand Prairie Police Department Commercial Vehicle Enforcement home page.