Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Implementation for FMCSA

First published by FMCSA

Dramatic image of 18 wheeler in a tunnel

Authorization of Appropriations

  • Section 23001(a) adds General Operating Expense (GOE) contract authority for Fiscal Years (FYs) 2022-2026.
  • Section 23001(b) provides contract authority for grant programs for FYs 2022-2026 years.
    • Adds a year of performance to the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) and provides Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator Safety Training (SET) grants a 5-year period of performance.
    • Continues to allow enforcement of State traffic laws and regulations designed to promote the safe operation of commercial motor vehicles (CMV), provide the number of motor carrier safety activities, including roadside safety inspections, conducted in the State is maintained at a level at least equal to the average level of such activities conducted in the State, but updates the FYs from 2004 and 2005  to 2014 and 2015.
  • P 2642 adds General Fund authority (advanced appropriations/supplemental appropriations) for FMCSA GOE and Grant programs with a 4-year period of availability for new obligations. Once funds are obligated, the periods of performance for grantees above and within 49 U.S.C. section 31104(f) apply.

Grant Programs & Funding

  • Combatting Human Trafficking
    • Increases emphasis on the prevention and detection of human trafficking as a priority for the High Priority (HP) CMV grant program and is now allowable under FMCSA’s MCSAP, HP CMV, and Commercial Driver’s License Program Implementation (CDLPI) grants and FMCSA’s Outreach programs.
  • Immobilization Grant Program
    • Establishes a grant program under HP CMV to provide discretionary grants to States to immobilize or impound passenger carrying CMVs that are determined to be unsafe or fail inspection.
    • Requires the Secretary to work with States to develop a list of safety violations that would warrant the immediate immobilization or impoundment of a passenger carrying CMVs.
  • State Enforcement Training and Support (SET)
    • Establishes a new State Partners training grant program to be funded at 100% with a period of performance of 5 years.
    • The grant program will provide discretionary grants for nonprofit organizations to provide training to non-Federal employees who conduct CMV enforcement activities and to develop related training materials. Read More»

View:  Bipartisan Infrastructure Law: Impacts for FMCSA Grant Programs


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Clearinghouse Annual Queries

First published by FMCSA

FMCSA homepage link
Clearinghouse Questions Answered

                                                                       Photo: FMCSA

ANNUAL QUERIES: Are you up-to-date?

Employers of CDL drivers must conduct a query in the Clearinghouse at least once per year for each CDL driver they employ (for more details on employer requirements, see 49 CFR 382.701). A limited query satisfies the annual query requirement. The annual query is tracked on a rolling 12-month basis, which means that if you conducted your last annual queries in December 2020, it is time to conduct your next round of queries.

Log in to the Clearinghouse and visit your Query History page (under My Dashboard > Queries) to see if your annual queries are due. For instructions on conducting annual queries, download the How to Conduct a Limited Query job aid.

What do employers need to do to satisfy the annual query requirement?Employers must obtain a general consent from CDL drivers they employ before conducting limited queries in the Clearinghouse to view these drivers’ information (you can download a sample limited query consent form). Employers may obtain a multi-year general consent from the driver for limited queries; if an employer obtained such a consent in 2020, the employer does not need to obtain the driver’s consent again in 2021.

Employers can log in to the Clearinghouse and conduct annual queries today.

What if an employer conducted a pre-employment query within the past 12 months?The pre-employment query satisfies the annual query requirement for that driver. Employers are not required to query the driver until one year after that pre-employment query. To learn more about queries and consent requests, download the Queries and Consent Requests Factsheet.

What is a query plan?

Before an employer can conduct queries in the Clearinghouse, the employer must purchase a query plan. Download the How to Purchase a Query Plan job aid for full instructions.

LOG IN TO THE CLEARINGHOUSE →

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FMCSA renews regulatory relief extension

First published by FMCSA

EXTENSION OF THE MODIFIED
EMERGENCY DECLARATION No. 2020-002 UNDER 49 CFR § 390.25

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) hereby declares that the continuing national emergency warrants extension of the modified Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002.  The extension of the modified Emergency Declaration continues the exemption granted from certain requirements in Part 395 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) for the fifty States and the District of Columbia as set forth below.

FMCSA issued Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 in response to the March 13, 2020 declaration of a national emergency under 42 U.S.C. § 5191(b) related to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and the immediate risk COVID-19 presents to public health and welfare.  FMCSA has previously modified Emergency Declaration 2020-002 to expand and remove categories of supplies, equipment and persons covered by the Emergency Declaration to respond to changing needs for emergency relief.  On August 31, 2021, FMCSA extended and amended the modified Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 and associated regulatory relief through November 30, 2021 in accordance with 49 CFR § 390.25.

FMCSA is continuing the exemption and associated regulatory relief in accordance with 49 CFR § 390.25, because the presidentially declared emergency remains in place and because, although the number of COVID-19 cases began to decline in the U.S. following widespread introduction of vaccinations, persistent issues arising out of COVID-19 continue to affect the U.S. including impacts on supply chains and the need to ensure capacity to respond to variants and potential rises in infections.  Therefore, a continued exemption is needed to support direct emergency assistance for some supply chains.  This notice continues the relief granted in Emergency Declaration 2020-002, as modified on June 15, 2020, August 15, 2020, December 1, 2020, and August 2021, through February 28, 2022 subject to the restrictions and conditions set forth herein unless modified or terminated sooner.  This extension of the modified Emergency Declaration addresses national emergency conditions that create a need for immediate transportation of essential supplies and provides necessary relief from the FMCSRs for motor carriers and drivers.  Read More»


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FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Rulemaking Update

First published by FMCSA

Photo property of FMCSA

Clearinghouse Rule II

What It Means for Clearinghouse Users

On November 8, 2021, the second Clearinghouse final rule, Controlled Substances and Alcohol Testing: State Driver’s Licensing Agency Non-Issuance/Downgrade of Commercial Driver’s License; Correction, went into effect. This rule addresses how States are required to use the information in the Clearinghouse to help ensure that only qualified drivers are eligible to receive and retain a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

Employer Requirements Have Not Changed

The second Clearinghouse rule does not change any of the requirements for employers to query CDL and commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders and report drug and alcohol program violations. All requirements established by the first Clearinghouse rule, Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, remain in place. Download the brochures below to learn more about these requirements.

Update: Actual Knowledge of DUI Citations

The Clearinghouse second rule includes an update regarding actual knowledge violations. The following question and answer has been added to the Clearinghouse website to summarize this change.

If a CDL driver’s employer is aware that the driver received a traffic citation for driving a CMV while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances, the employer must report this to the Clearinghouse as actual knowledge of prohibited use of drugs or alcohol. If the citation does not result in a conviction, may the driver petition to have this violation removed from their Clearinghouse record?

Effective November 8, 2021, an actual knowledge violation, based on the issuance of citation for DUI in a CMV, will not be removed from the Clearinghouse when the citation does not result in a conviction.

In the final rule published on October 7, 2021 (86 FR 55718), FMCSA clarified that a driver subject to FMCSA’s drug and alcohol use and testing requirements, who has been issued a traffic citation (or other charging document) for DUI in a CMV, has violated 49 CFR part 382, subpart B. Accordingly, the 2021 final rule amends the regulation to state that a report of actual knowledge of prohibited use of drugs or alcohol, based on the issuance of DUI in a CMV, will remain in the Clearinghouse for 5 years, or until the driver has completed the return-to-duty process, whichever is later, regardless of whether the driver is ultimately convicted of the DUI offense. Drivers who are not convicted of the offense may petition to submit documentary evidence of non-conviction to their Clearinghouse record.


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FMCSA final rule adds rear impact guards to annual truck inspection list

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Washington — Rear impact guards on large commercial trucks must be inspected annually, under a recently issued final rule from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Rear impact guards are designed to prevent “underrides,” which occur when a passenger vehicle strikes the rear of a CMV and slides underneath. FMCSA notes that although rear impact guards have been required on CMVs for more than 65 years, they have not been one of components listed in Appendix G for required inspections. This has meant “that a vehicle can pass an annual inspection with a missing or damaged rear impact guard.”

Published in the Nov. 9 Federal Register and effective Dec. 9, the rule adds rear impact guards to Appendix G and amends labeling requirements. “Road construction controlled (RCC) horizontal discharge trailers” are exempt.

In December, FMCSA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking, with a two-month comment period. Seven months later, the Department of Transportation listed the measure in the final rule stage as part of its Spring 2021 regulatory agenda.


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FMCSA gives states 60 days to downgrade licenses of CMV drivers with drug, alcohol violations

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Washington — State driver’s licensing agencies will have 60 days to initiate mandatory downgrades of commercial driver’s licenses and commercial learner’s permits once notified that a commercial motor vehicle operator has failed a drug or alcohol test, under a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration final rule set to go into effect Nov. 8.

FMCSA contends that the rule plugs both a “knowledge gap” and “loophole” in present regulations, which prohibit SDLAs from issuing, renewing, upgrading and transferring CDLs or CLPs for drivers who test positive for drugs or alcohol until those drivers complete FMCSA’s return-to-duty process.

“Currently, most SDLAs do not receive drug and alcohol program violation information about CDL or CLP holders licensed in their state,” the rule states. “Therefore, these SDLAs are unaware when a CMV operator is subject to the driving prohibition … and the CMV operator continues to hold a valid CDL or CLP despite the driving prohibition.”

SDLAs are required to consult FMCSA’s online Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, which provides real-time national data on CMV drivers who have failed drug and alcohol tests, before issuing or renewing licenses. They will have until Nov. 18, 2024, to comply with the new rule.


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Welcome to FMCSA MCSAC

First published by FMCSA

Welcome to the website of the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The MCSAC is charged with providing advice and recommendations to the FMCSA Administrator on motor carrier safety programs and motor carrier safety regulations. Initially chartered by the Secretary of Transportation on September 8, 2006, the current charter runs through September 27, 2021.

MCSAC membership is balanced and is composed of up to 25 experts from the motor carrier safety advocacy, safety enforcement, industry, and labor sectors.

Recommended by the Administrator and appointed by the Secretary for two-year terms, members are chosen from a field of many qualified candidates who possess a wide range of motor carrier experience and expertise. Lamont Byrd serves currently as chairman.

For questions concerning MCSAC or for more information, please e-mail mcsac@dot.gov.

MCSAC Term Extended through January 2023

For additional information, see the FMCSA press release dated January 13, 2021.

New MCSAC Driver Subcommittee

FMCSA has launched a new subcommittee of commercial drivers to its Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC). This subcommittee will provide direct feedback to FMCSA on important issues facing the driving community—like safety, hours-of-service regulations, training, parking, and driver experience. To learn more about the subcommittee, visit the MCSAC Driver Subcommittee page.

Please note that if you have a complaint or inquiry about FMCSA regulations, please see the following links and redirect your inquiry to the appropriate office:


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, DOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

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2021 Road Safety Student Art Contest

First published by FMCSA

Announcement Recognizes National Truck Driver Appreciation Week

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Deputy Administrator Meera Joshi today announced the winners of the 2021 Road Safety Student Art Contest via a congratulatory video.

“Every year, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration asks young artists to help raise awareness about how important it is to keep people safe on the road – and this year’s submissions were terrific,” said Secretary Buttigieg.  “I want to thank every student who chose to share your art with us.”

“You’ve used art to create powerful and important messages,” said FMCSA Deputy Administrator Meera Joshi in congratulating all of the winners, adding, “What you’ve done with color and images drives home the message of safety in a way words alone just cannot.”

The winning artwork of the following 12 students will be showcased in the U.S. Department of Transportation headquarters building in Washington, D.C., as well as featured in the 2022 Road Safety Student Art calendar that will be available later this year.

Grand Prize winners:

Kindergarten – 5th Grade Category: Avni Choudepally, Cary, North Carolina
6th – 8th Grade Category: Amy Lin, Belle Meade, New Jersey
7th-10th Grade Category: Abigail Regnier, Jefferson City, Missouri
11th – 12th Grade Category: Olivia Stone, Anchorage, Alaska

FMCSA People’s Choice Art Contest Awards Winners:

Aaban Mahmood, Coraopolis, Pennsylvania
Abby Chan, Crofton, Maryland

Honorable Mention recipients:

Pranav Balakrishnan, Plano, Texas
Preetiggah Sudhakar, Simpsonville, South Carolina
Yohann Lee, Studio City, California
Karthikeya Vattem, McDonald, Pennsylvania
Lynn Sun, Livingston, New Jersey
Noah Cho, Wheaton, Illinois

This year’s Road Safety Student Art Contest challenged students ranging from kindergarten through high school to design and create motivational artwork providing safety messaging for all roadway users — truck and bus operators, passenger vehicle drivers, motorcyclists, scooter riders, bicyclists, skateboarders, and pedestrians.

Conducted annually, the contest is sponsored under FMCSA’s Our Roads, Our Safety Partnership, which comprises more than 30 governmental, safety, industry, and private organizations.  Every roadway traveler, young to old, can help save lives and reduce injuries by always making safety a priority.  Always buckle up, avoid becoming distracted, stay alert, and pay attention when entering crossways.

The young artists call on commercial truck and bus operators to do their part for safety, while also reminding everyone to give large commercial motor vehicles extra room to maneuver.  Never cut in front of a large truck or bus, never tailgate, and most importantly, avoid lingering in the drivers’ blind spots – “The No Zone” – along the sides, immediately in front, and behind the vehicle where you cannot be seen.

The art contest winners are announced this week as truck drivers throughout the country are being honored for their contributions to keeping the economy moving and safely delivering essential goods.

During National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, the Nation recognizes the absolute vitalness of the trucking industry to the Nation’s supply chain and overall health of our economy,” said FMCSA Deputy Administrator Joshi.  “All our food, medicines, fuel, supplies we need to survive – everything is transported by a professional truck driver.  In just the past eight months, millions of grateful Americans have been protected from the pandemic thanks to countless hero truck drivers who delivered the COVID-19 vaccines.  We owe them an incredible debt of gratitude,” she added.

To learn more about the Road Safety Student Art Contest and to see the winning entries, visit https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/OurRoadsArtContest.

NOTE TO EDITORS: High-res photos of the winning artwork is available at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/OurRoadsArtContest


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, DOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

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FMCSA again extends regulatory relief for truckers carrying pandemic-related goods

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

regulatory relief for truckers

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is extending its temporary hours-of-service exemptions and other regulatory relief for commercial truck drivers transporting items intended to assist with COVID-19 pandemic relief efforts.

Announced Aug. 31, the extension of Emergency Declaration 2020-002, initially issued March 13, 2020, and expanded and modified multiple times, is scheduled to remain in effect through Nov. 30.

Regulatory relief is extended to drivers who are transporting:

  • COVID-19 vaccines; constituent products; and medical supplies and equipment, including ancillary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines
  • Medical supplies and equipment for the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19
  • Supplies and equipment to help curb the spread of COVID-19, including masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants
  • Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of stores or distribution centers
  • Gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and ethyl alcohol
  • Supplies to assist individuals impacted by the “consequences” of the pandemic (e.g., building materials for individuals displaced or otherwise impacted as a result of the emergency)
  • Livestock and livestock feed

Drivers making routine commercial deliveries, “including mixed loads with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief added to obtain the benefits of this emergency declaration,” are not covered under the exemption.

“To be eligible for the exemption, the transportation must be both (i) of qualifying commodities and (ii) incident to the immediate restoration of those essential supplies,” FMCSA says.

The regulatory relief doesn’t extend to safety regulations concerning speed limits, fatigue, texting/phone use while driving, crash documentation and out-of-service rules, among others.


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, DOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

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FMCSA to medical examiners: Submit driver exams conducted when registry was offline

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has set a deadline of Sept. 30 for certified medical examiners to submit the results of physical qualification exams of commercial truck and bus drivers that were completed while the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners was offline from Dec. 1, 2017, through Aug. 13, 2018.

According to a notice published in the Aug. 9 Federal Register, “a significant number of health care professionals” – estimated at around 14,000 – haven’t uploaded results of exams conducted during the 36-week window in which the national registry website wasn’t accessible after a hacking attempt.

“FMCSA makes this request to ensure, to the greatest extent possible, that results of all examinations conducted during the outage are reported to the national registry,” the notice states. In an audit published in January, the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General estimates that 780,000 or so exams may be outstanding from the database.

FMCSA announced in April 2018 that the attempted hack was unsuccessful and no personal information was exposed. After the incident, the agency says it advised medical examiners to “segregate all examinations completed during the outage and be prepared to upload them to the national registry system when it is back online and operating normally.”

According to the notice, the database’s reporting functionality for medical examiners was restored on June 22, 2018, while administrative assistants and third-party organizations were able to again submit results on behalf of medical examiners on Aug. 13, 2018. However, FMCSA didn’t require immediate uploads amid initial concerns of accelerated activity on the temporary national registry system. “Continued improvements” to the system have helped alleviate the concerns, the notice states.

The national registry website notes that FMCSA is developing a new database “to better serve you.”


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, DOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

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