Driving across bridge

Thorn Valley’s Safer Driving Quarterly Newsletter shares tips and resources to keep you safe on the road! This quarter we’re looking at the 2024 Transportation Regulatory Agenda and FMCSA’s proposed revisions to various CDL processes. 

2024 Agenda

2024 Transportation Regulatory Agenda

After closing out a busy 2023, we’re already into February 2024 (where does the time go?)  Looking ahead, we see plenty of rulemakings on the transportation regulatory agenda > Significant Rulemaking Report from the Department of Transportation. The FMCSA rulemaking agenda starts on page 14, but here are the highlights:

New Entrant Safety Assurance Process (SANPRM July 2024) – This rulemaking would consider methods for ensuring a new applicant carrier is knowledgeable about the applicable safety requirements before being granted New Entrant authority. The agency is considering whether to implement a proficiency examination as part of its revised New Entrant Safety Assurance Process as well as other alternatives. This rulemaking responds to issues raised in a petition from Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety regarding new entrant applicant knowledge.

Heavy Vehicle Speed Limiters (SNPRM May 2024) – FMCSA intends to proceed with a motor carrier-based speed limiter rulemaking by preparing a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM) to follow up on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) and FMCSA’s jointly issued September 7, 2016, notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on this subject. The new rulemaking in subsequent consultation with NHTSA, will consider whether additional regulatory actions should be taken concerning CMV manufacturer requirements. Specifically, motor carriers operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 11,794 kilograms or more (26,001 pounds or more), whichever is greater, that are equipped with an electronic engine control unit (ECU) capable of governing the maximum speed be required to limit the CMV to a speed to be determined by the rulemaking and to maintain that ECU setting for the service life of the vehicle.

Motor Carrier Operation of Automated Driving Systems (ADS)-Equipped Commercial Motor Vehicles (NPRM March 2024) – FMCSA proposes to amend certain Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) to ensure the safe introduction of automated driving systems (ADS)-equipped commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) onto the Nation’s roadways. The proposed changes to the CMV operations, inspection, repair, and maintenance regulations prioritize safety and security, promote innovation, foster a consistent regulatory approach to ADS-equipped CMVs, and recognize the difference between human operators and ADS. FMCSA has taken several actions to solicit information on issues relating to the testing and integration of ADS-equipped CMVs, including holding listening sessions beginning in 2017 and a 2018 Request for Comments Concerning Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) Which May Be a Barrier to the Safe Testing and Deployment of Automated Driving Systems-Equipped Commercial Motor Vehicles on Public Roads (83 FR 12933). FMCSA continues to attend industry conferences, road show events and meet with various developers and other stakeholders.

Automatic Emergency Braking Systems (Final Rule April 2024) – This joint rulemaking of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Motor Carrier administration (FMCSA) will finalize the proposal to require and/or standardize equipment performance for automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems on heavy trucks (2127-AM36). The rulemaking is expected to establish performance standards and motor carrier maintenance requirements for AEB systems on heavy trucks and accompanying test procedures for measuring the performance of the AEB systems in NHTSA compliance testing. NHTSA and FMCSA engaged in a national outreach, educational, and awareness campaign, and data collection analysis which included the development of training materials for fleets, drivers, and maintenance personnel related to AEB technology and return-on-investment (ROI) guides; educational videos on ADAS braking, steering, warning, and monitoring technologies; a web-based Tech-Celerate Now (TCN) ADAS-specific ROI calculator; and a program website to host the training materials. Planning is underway for the second phase of the TCN program, which includes an expanded national outreach and education campaign, additional research into the barriers to ADAS adoption by motor carriers, and evaluation of the outreach campaign.

Safety Fitness Procedures (NPRM June 2025) – FMCSA is seeking information on how the Agency might use data and resources more effectively to identify unfit motor carriers and to remove them from the Nation’s roadways. FMCSA would seek public comment about the use of available safety data, including inspection data, in determining carrier fitness to operate. The Agency would also seek public input on possible changes to the current three-tier safety fitness rating structure. The action would also include a review of the list of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) that the Agency uses in its safety fitness rating methodology.

CDL Process Revisions Proposed By FMCSA

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is proposing changes to its commercial driver’s license (CDL) program aimed at enhancing flexibility and efficiency without compromising safety. These revisions include allowing out-of-state applicants to take the CDL skills test, permitting commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders to operate CMVs with a CDL holder present, eliminating the 14-day waiting period for skills testing, updating requirements for third-party knowledge testers and examiners, and exempting CDL holders from needing a P endorsement when transporting empty passenger CMVs. These changes aim to address driver shortages, enhance supply chain stability, and provide regulatory relief. Feedback on the proposal is open until March 2024.

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