NRMCA Claims Victory on Multiple Federal Regulatory Fronts
Last week, the Trump Administration’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was busy exercising its new directive of regulatory reform. In the span of a week, FMCSA formally withdrew its controversial proposed Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) rule, put its finalized negotiated rulemaking Entry-Level Driver Training rule on hold until May and granted an exemption from the problematic Hours of Service (HOS) 30-minute break provision for concrete pump truck drivers.
Specifically, FMCSA’s SFD proposal was "designed to enhance the Agency’s ability to identify non-compliant motor carriers." The new program would have been able to inspect a greater number of carriers annually than it currently can. FMCSA estimated under the new program it would have been able to assess the "safety fitness" of 75,000 carriers each month instead of the current 15,000 each year, among other significant changes. FMCSA withdrew the rule, in part, for the same reasons NRMCA objected to the rule. FMCSA proposed the rule before FMCSA had fully revamped the necessary data and methodologies as directed by Congress and the President in the FAST Act. Thus, implementing a new safety rating system based on flawed, and still yet to be fixed data, will not achieve the proposal’s desired increased safety goals. The rule’s welcomed withdrawal made possible in part through the SFD Coalition of which NRMCA is an active, participating member, became effective March 23.
Last December, FMCSA finalized a negotiated rulemaking establishing guidelines for minimum training requirements for individuals seeking to obtain a commercial drivers license (CDL) to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). The rule established, for the first time ever, a universal and comprehensive training standard requiring both behind-the-wheel (BTW) instruction and specific topics to be covered during classroom instruction. The new requirements applied to "individuals applying for their initial CDL; an upgrade of their CDL or a hazardous materials, passenger, or school bus endorsement for their license." The training also had to be conducted by a certified entity listed on the new "Training Provider Registry." The requirements for obtaining a Class B CDL to operate a ready mixed concrete truck were included in the new rule. While there was not a minimum number of BTW and classroom instruction hours, there was a required comprehensive curriculum that needed to be covered followed by the driver’s demonstration of proficiency of the curriculum and BTW training elements. The rule which was effective February 7 and held a compliance date of February 7, 2020, is now put on hold until May 22.
Finally, FMCSA granted an exemption to the American Concrete Pumping Association (ACPA) for its drivers from the HOS 30-minute break. ACPA applied for the exemption last fall with the support and help from NRMCA. Similar to the ready mixed concrete 30-minute break exemption, the pumpers also are now able to use 30-minutes of waiting time in lieu of taking a formal break. However, the pumpers exemption is currently temporary, with a expiration date of March 21, 2019. To review the exemption please click here.
For more information, contact Kevin Walgenbach at firstname.lastname@example.org.