FMCSA updates rule dates

Jill Dunn | March 23, 2011

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has closed comments on a proposal to restrict using cell phones while operating trucks, but has not set a timetable for possibly pursuing a distracted driving rule.

The agency began accepting comment on limiting cell use with its Dec. 21 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, but did not provide additional deadlines for that rule.

The FMCSA and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration have discussed restricting use of electronic devices or certain activities by interstate truckers and for some hazmat haulers to mitigate distracted driving.

The agencies studied distracted driving research and suggestions from the FMCSÂ Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee. The FMCSA had scheduled, but did not publish, a related Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking last September.

The agency uses the advanced notice to obtain early public participation on an issue, such as it did when it published and accepted comment on insulin-treated diabetes mellitus in 2006.

The FMCSA plans an August 2012 NPRM on allowing diabetic truckers to drive interstate without first obtaining an exemption from the agency. The 2005 omnibus transportation funding law required the rulemaking, which has been delayed because of insufficient staffing and unanticipated issues requiring further analysis.

That legislation was among the federal laws prompting Commercial Learner’s Permit revisions rulemaking, beginning with a 2008 NPRM. 

A final rule is expected April 5 on CLP A standards for truck operation and information requirements for the CLP document and electronic record. It would also establish CLP maximum issuance and renewal periods and a minimum age requirement.

Agency officials anticipate publishing a final rule Nov. 25 to require behind-the-wheel and classroom training for a commercial driver license to operate commercial motor vehicles. A 2005 federal appeals court decision remanded the related 2004 final rule to the FMCSA for further consideration, including the effectiveness of CMV driver training in reducing crashes, what training should be mandated and costs.

The Carrier Safety Fitness Determination NPRM publication is expected Sept. 21, while last time line date posted for the Dec. 29 hours-of-service NPRM was the comments deadline earlier in March.

Progress schedules currently are not provided for rulemaking related to monitoring Mexico-based carriers under a proposed program.


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