FMCSA Administrator addresses multiple topics during Women in Trucking conference

Darling discusses agency activities, including ongoing and upcoming rulemakings

Posted November 9, 2016

On November 7, 2016, the Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), T. F. Scott Darling, discussed ongoing and upcoming rulemaking and safety-related activities at the agency at the annual Accelerate Conference, hosted by Women in Trucking.

The Administrator concentrated on three activities he would like to see completed before his time at FMCSA is done. These include:

  • The drug and alcohol clearinghouse
  • Entry-level driver training
  • The Unified Registration System (URS)

According to the Administrator, the drug and alcohol clearinghouse rule should be released by the end of November. Entry-level driver training is presently at the Office of Management and Budget and should be released in the near future.

URS implementation

The URS rulemaking has already been published, but full implementation has been delayed. Administrator Darling reinforced the current compliance dates during his speech (January 14, 2017, all carriers using the URS, including existing carriers doing their bi-annual update and April 14, 2017, for carriers that must have new BOC-3 and insurance filings completed).

Electronic Logging Devices

The Administrator also reinforced the dates for the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) regulation. According to Administrator Darling, due to the court dismissing the challenge filed against the rule, most drivers that currently use paper logs will have to be using an electronic log, either an automatic onboard recording device (AOBRD) or an ELD, by December 18, 2017. Carriers that are using AOBRDs before December 18, 2017, will have until December 16, 2019, to upgrade the devices to ELDs.

Speed limiters

Also discussed was the proposed speed limiter rule, and the extension of the comment period. During the question-and-answer session, Administrator Darling was asked if FMCSA had taken the speed differentials that drivers currently deal with into consideration. In reply, the Administrator encouraged the questioner to place a comment into the docket as this is a proposed rule, so comments are looked at and considered when developing the final rule.

Other rules

Other rulemaking and activities that were briefly discussed by the Administrator included:

  • The recent safety technology regulation which allows the mounting of devices related to safety systems on the windshield, provided restrictions are met.
  • The pilot program considering crash preventability in the calculation of a carrier’s score in the Crash BASIC (Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category) in the CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability) program.
  • The study of the CSA program and its Safety Measurement System (SMS), which should be released in 2017.
  • The pilot program allowing current and former military members who are 18 to 21 to operate in interstate commerce.
  • Exempting former military heavy-vehicle drivers from the CDL skills testing.
  • Allowing military and Veterans Administration doctors to conduct DOT physicals. Currently, this would require these medical professionals to be listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.
  • Creating more truck parking and sharing information on available parking.
  • The “Beyond Compliance” program which would recognize carriers for exceeding the regulatory requirements.
  • The study of the 34-hour restart, which is now completed and under review.

This article was written by Thomas Bray of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

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