Regs relief, autonomous trucking highlight topics for FMCSA committee meeting next month

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Updated Jun 1, 2017
FMCSA has asked MCSAC to recommend regulations that are perceived to be outdated or ineffective or whose costs exceed their benefit.FMCSA has asked MCSAC to recommend regulations that are perceived to be outdated or ineffective or whose costs exceed their benefit.

A Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration advisory board made up of industry stakeholders representing fleets, owner-operators, drivers and other segments of the industry will meet in June as a first step toward rulemaking recommendations regarding autonomous trucks, FMCSA announced Thursday. The  group, known as the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee, is also slated to discuss regulatory relief for the trucking industry, as called for by an Exucutive Order issued by President Donald Trump.

The June 12-13 meetings will take place at U.S. DOT headquarters in Washington, D.C., — 1200 New Jersey Ave. The meetings are open to the public. Those planning to attend must email FMCSA at [email protected] by June 7 to reserve their spot in the meeting. Oral comments will be heard throughout the meeting, says FMCSA, though at the discretion of the committee’s chairman.

MCSAC members include representatives from the American Trucking Associations, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the Teamsters, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (a group representing enforcers and inspectors), safety groups like Parents Against Tired Truckers and others.

FMCSA says it’s asking MCSAC for recommendations, related to autonomous vehicles, on CDLs, driver qualifications, ELDs, hours of service and inspection and maintenance and how the agency should navigate those issues, as they pertain to vehicle automation, through the federal regulatory framework. FMCSA says it also wants MCSAC recommendations “regarding prospective requirements for manufacturers or other entities requesting a pilot program and/or a temporary exemption to operate a [highly automated commercial vehicle] without a person in the driver’s seat on a public roadway.”

Another key focus of the meeting for MCSAC members will be making recommendations to FMCSA on regulations that are “outdated, unnecessary or ineffective,” and those that “impose costs that exceed benefits,” according to FMCSA’s announcement about the meeting. The pursuit of such recommendations stems from a February-issued Executive Order from Trump calling on regulatory agencies to target regulations for potential rollback.

The other agenda item for the MCSAC meeting pertains to FMCSA’s long-term goals and objectives. The agency is asking members for recommendations for its “mission, vision, strategic goals and outlook” for fiscal years 2018-2022.

In addition to oral comments, MCSAC will be fielding written comments, which can be made via the rulemaking portal. Comments can be made starting Friday by searching Docket No. FMCSA-2006-26367.