DOT updates timetable for key rules

Jill Dunn | January 19, 2011

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s significant rulemaking report indicates a final rule for entry-level minimum driver training will be published by December.

The U.S. Department of Transportation updates the status of pending or recently issued rulemaking at the start of each month, but the report does not commit the agency to conclusions or actions.

December’s report was not available until late last month because of administrative problems and that report’s timing. The DOT will not post a new report for this month, it said. 

The entry level driver training final rule, scheduled for publication last February, will be published Nov. 25. The agency found it needed additional coordination and discovered unanticipated impacts needing further study, which delayed publication.

This rule would require behind-the-wheel and classroom training for entry-level CDL holders to operate commercial motor vehicles. A previous final rule was remanded to the FMCSA five years ago by a federal appeals court. In 2008, the agency ended its extended comment period regarding the subsequent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

A final rule is expected Feb. 28 for CDL testing and Commercial Learner’s Permit standards, a year later than scheduled. The extended comment period on the related NPRM ended in 2008.

This rulemaking would revise CDL knowledge and skills testing standards, decrease fraud at state licensing agencies and set new minimum standards for states to issue CLP, in response to federal statutes.

The DOT presented its initial concept document for a cross-border trucking program with Mexico Jan. 6. But no dates were indicated yet for final rules to govern applications by Mexican carriers to operate beyond the border zone or implement an initiative to evaluate the continuing safety fitness of Mexico-based carriers.

The agency set a June 7 Supplemental NPRM publication date for replacing the current identification and registration systems with the United Registration System.  The Single State Registration System replacement, which the ICC Termination Act directed be merged under URS, and the cargo insurance requirement have been addressed in previous final rules.

The SNPRM, originally scheduled for a 2007 publication date, was delayed because of unforeseen issues needing further study.  The Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was published in 1996.

The rulemaking schedule also includes:

• A Jan. 28 NPRM publication date for revisions regarding expanding the number of carriers requiring Electronic On-Board Recorders, consolidated with the Hours of Service supporting documents for drivers. The court-set deadline was Dec. 30, but delayed because the FMCSA needed more coordination and data and encountered unexpected issues.

• A July 10 publication date for a NPRM revising the Carrier Safety Fitness Determination, in accordance with the Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010. The original 2008 publication date was delayed because the agency needed more information and ran into unanticipated issues.

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