DOT updates rules timetable

The current federal rulemaking schedule lists 2012 publication dates for a Final Rule regarding electronic on-board recorders and hours-of-service documentation requirements and a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking mandating speed limiting devices for trucks.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration set a June 28, 2012,  publication date to expand the number of carriers required to have EOBRs in favor of reducing hours-of-service documentation requirements.

The FMCSA had consolidated this follow-up to the EOBR rule with the hours supporting documents rulemaking into a single proposed rule. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit granted the American Trucking Associations’ pleading for the agency to issue that proposed rule notice before this year and later the agency’s request to extend that deadline to Jan. 31. The agency began the project in 1994.

The FMCSA had planned to publish an hours-of-service publication July 26 after Public Citizen and other groups reached a settlement with the agency two years ago, but the parties agreed to extend that deadline to Oct. 28.

The ATA, along with Roadsafe America, also had petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to require speed limiting devices on heavy trucks. The NHTSA’s request for comments on the proposal drew strong support as it is expected to increase safety and decrease fuel use.

The agency listed a Dec. 30, 2012, publication date for the NPRM and plans to accept comment until March 2, 2013.

The NHTSA also plans to publish a Dec. 30 NPRM creating a new federal requirement for electronic stability control systems on trucks and motor coaches to address rollover and loss of control crashes. If the proposal becomes a regulation, it is expected to significantly reduce fatalities, injuries and traffic delays.

Additionally, the FMCSA expects to issue an Oct. 12 publication to restrict commercial drivers’ cell phone use while driving. The National Transportation Safety Board lists this on its “Most Wanted List” of safety recommendations.

Finally, the FMCSA expects to publish a NPRM to create a database of CDL holders who have tested positive for controlled substances and alcohol or refuse testing. Other data would include if a driver who tested positive has completed the department’s return-to-duty process before resuming commercial driving.

Employers would be required to report this information to the database and prospective employers would be required to query the database before hiring.

Other rulemaking publication dates on trucking-related issues include:

  • A Dec. 29 NPRM for carrier safety fitness.
  • An Aug. 23, 2012, NPRM amending the FMCSA’s standard to allow drivers with insulin-treated diabetes to operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce, without seeking an exemption from the agency.
  • A NPRM March 28, 2012, revising requirements regarding fireworks, including transport.