DOT: Proposed speed limiter rule coming in Feb., insurance increase next month

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truck highway speedA federal regulation upping the amount of liability insurance carriers must have is still slated to be published as a proposed rule next month, according to a report issued Sept. 16 by the Department of Transportation.

The report also says the department’s rule to require the use of speed limiters on heavy trucks and its Safety Fitness Determination rule are now projected to be published as proposed rules in early 2015, according to the report.

Both the speed limiter rule and the insurance increase rule were sent last month to the Office of the Secretary of Transportation. After approval there, they’ll be sent to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget for approval before being sent back to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for publication.

The insurance rule — which would raise the current $750,000 minimum to an unspecified amount — is expected to be sent to the OMB Sept. 29, the DOT report says, while the speed limiter rule is projected to be sent to the OMB Oct. 9.

The speed limiter rule would require the installation and use of “governors,” or speed limiters, on trucks weighing more than 26,000 pounds. FMCSA has not said what the limited speed would be.

The rule is projected to clear the OMB Jan. 9 and be published Jan. 12, with a 60-day comment period ending March 12.

Likewise, the agency has not said what the new minimum level of liability insurance for carriers would be, but it did say in an April-issued report that if the current minimum, which has been in place since the mid-1980s, had kept up with inflation, it would be $1.62 million.

The DOT projects the rule to clear the OMB Oct. 12 and to be published as a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Oct. 22. It will have a 60-day comment period ending Dec. 12, according to the report.

The projected action dates for the agency’s Safety Fitness Determination rule — part of the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program — have not changed, and the rule is still expected to be published Feb. 10, 2015, and have a 90-day public comment period ending in May.

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The rule would allow the agency to produce a single score — a Safety Fitness Determination — for carriers based upon agency data similar to that used to produce CSA’s Safety Measurement System rankings.

The agency would use the scores to prioritize carriers for intervention, it says.

Other rulemakings in the report include FMCSA’s work on a new entrant training and testing process, which does not have any projected action dates listed; a rule to make it easier for military members to obtain a CDL, projected for publication next May; and a rule to require Transportation Security Administration background checks on hazmat haulers, which has no projected action dates.

New to the DOT’s September report are projected action dates for FMCSA’s Final Rule to implement a CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. The proposed rule was published in February, and, once final, it would create a database of CDL holders who have failed or refused a drug or alcohol test.

Carriers would then have to query the database when making new hires and once a year for drivers already on the payroll. It would also require carriers to upload information on failed and refused tests.

Dates for the regulator’s Final Rule mandating electronic logging devices were not included in the report, nor were dates for the Final Rule for FMCSA’s driver coercion rule. The proposed ELD mandate rule was published in late March, and the anti-coercion rule was published in May.

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