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What does FMCSA have planned for 2023

What does FMCSA have planned for 2023

By Steve Binkley,
Safety Consultant

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has several proposed Notice of Proposed Rulemaking scheduled for release in 2023. Below are four with the release date and the change regarding the Drugs and Alcohol Clearinghouse. FMCSA also released a draft version of a revised Medical Examiners Handbook. Per a provision of the FAST Act highway bill, this regulatory guidance will be posted in the guidance portal on FMCSA’s website. Then the agency “would review it no later than 5 years after it is published. It would consider at that time whether the guidance should be withdrawn, reissued for another period [of] up to 5 years, or incorporated into the regulations.

  • Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, Effective January 6, 2023 regulated motor carriers will no longer have to manually contact previous employers for drug and alcohol information about prospective drivers. Three years since the clearinghouse’s inception and the date the U.S. Department of Transportation deems the clearinghouse fully implemented. Now, the clearinghouse has enough information that fleets could leverage to query new drivers.
  • Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on Safe Integration of ADS
    This notice proposes to amend certain Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) to ensure the safe introduction of automated driving systems (ADS) equipped commercial motor vehicles onto the nation’s roadways.
    The proposed changes to 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,” stated the agency. The proposed publication date is January 18, 2023.
  • Advanced NPRM on Safety Fitness Procedures
    This advanced notice (aka a “pre-rule”) will seek 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 said it will request public comment about the use of available safety data, including inspection data, in determining a carrier’s fitness to operate.
    The agency will also seek public input on possible changes to its current three-tier safety fitness rating structure. That will also entail reviewing  the FMCSRs used in its safety fitness rating methodology. The proposed publication date is January 30, 2023.
  • Supplemental NPRM on Truck Speed Limiters
    This supplemental notice is a bit further off, with a summertime publication goal. It asks whether added regulations are needed for truck OEMs on speed limiters. The agency stated it “intends to proceed with a motor carrier-based speed limiter rulemaking by preparing a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking 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).”

    Per FMCSA, this new rulemaking will look at whether additional regulatory actions should be taken on vehicle manufacturer requirements. Specifically, this SNPRM will look at whether motor carriers operating commercial motor vehicles with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more that are equipped with an electronic engine control unit capable of governing the maximum speed be required to limit the truck to a speed “to be determined by the rulemaking and to maintain that ECU setting for the service life of the vehicle.” The proposed publication date is June 30, 2023.
  • NPRM on Automatic Emergency Braking
    This notice concerns the joint rulemaking on automatic emergency braking (AEB) by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and FMCSA. It will seek comment on a proposal to require and/or standardize equipment performance for AEB systems on heavy trucks (2127-AM36).

    FMCSA said the rulemaking is expected “to propose 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.” The proposed publication date is January 30, 2023.

    Its important for the motor carrier industry to understand the impact of the potential rule changes and let their voices be heard by commenting and making suggested changes to the proposed rules.

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