FMCSA asks for more input on automated driving systems for trucks and buses

Original article published by Safety+Health

Photo: FMCSA

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is moving forward – and seeking feedback – on a proposed rule that would amend, revise or eliminate existing regulations to integrate commercial trucks and buses equipped with automated driving systems.

A supplemental advance notice of proposed rulemaking published in the Feb. 1 Federal Register requests additional information as the agency aims to expand on a May 2019 ANPRM focused on ADS-equipped vehicles.

In its Fall 2022 Unified Regulatory Agenda, FMCSA had indicated its intention to publish in January a notice of proposed rulemaking on the vehicles.

“FMCSA invites comment on additional questions and those issued in the previous ANPRM to help FMCSA assess benefits, costs and other impacts of any potential proposal issued later,” the SANPRM states.

Those additional questions include:

  • Should FMCSA require motor carriers operating Level 4 or 5 ADS-equipped commercial motor vehicles to notify the agency before operating those vehicles in interstate commerce without a human driver behind the wheel?
  • Before operating in interstate commerce, should motor carriers be required to submit information, data, documentation, or other evidence that demonstrates to FMCSA that motor carriers seeking to operate Level 4 or 5 ADS-equipped CMVs have appropriate safety management controls in place to operate the vehicle in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications and with federal requirements?
  • What data should FMCSA collect and maintain regarding Level 4 or 5 ADS-equipped CMVs engaged in interstate transportation? How would such information be used and how would it improve the agency’s ability to oversee the safe operation of Level 4 or 5 ADS-equipped CMVs?
  • To what extent should the federal requirements otherwise applicable to CMV drivers (such as hours-of-service limitations, drug and alcohol testing, and physical qualifications) also apply to a remote assistant who isn’t expected to take control of the dynamic driving task of an ADS-equipped CMV operating at Level 4?
  • What, if any, aspects of the remote assistant job function may require FMCSA oversight, including minimum standards and/or auditing (for example, training, physical qualifications and other job-performance related measures)?
  • Are there any specific limitations that should be imposed on the working conditions of remote assistants, such as limitations on the number of ADS-equipped CMVs that a remote assistant is simultaneously responsible for or the number of hours that a remove assistant may work?
  • Should Level 4 or 5 ADS-equipped CMVs be subject to pre-trip inspection requirements for their mechanical and ADS components in addition to those specified in 49 CFR 392.7, including those which might necessitate new inspection equipment, before such CMVs are dispatched and after a specified period of operation?
  • Under what safety situations should state inspectors and/or FMCSA receive immediate notification of an unsafe maintenance or operational issue, if any?

The deadline to comment is March 20.

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

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CVSA Announces New Enhanced CMV Inspection Program for Autonomous Truck Motor Carriers

Original article published by CVSA

On Sept. 22, at the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) Annual Conference and Exhibition, in Rapid City, South Dakota, the CVSA Board of Directors approved the launch of the Alliance’s brand-new Enhanced Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Inspection Program, an inspection standard and procedure designed to govern inspections of commercial motor vehicles equipped with automated driving systems (ADS) – also referred to as autonomous or driverless vehicles.

The announcement of the new Enhanced CMV Inspection Program for motor carrier operations represents years of CVSA Enforcement and Industry Modernization Committee and Automated Vehicle Working Group meetings, discussions and development, as well as procedural testing, finetuning and re-testing of the new enhanced inspection program for ADS-equipped commercial motor vehicles. It is the culmination of commercial motor vehicle inspectors and state highway patrols, inspection and enforcement experts, motor carrier representatives, the autonomous trucking development community, and state and local government officials working collaboratively to develop commercial motor vehicle inspection standards specific to the unique needs, requirements and challenges of ADS-equipped commercial motor vehicles.

Currently, for driver-operated commercial motor vehicles, a driver conducts a pre-trip inspection prior to starting a trip and a post-trip inspection at the end of the trip. Along the driver’s route, the driver may be required to drive through a weigh/inspection station and/or be stopped at roadside and may be subject to a CVSA North American Standard Inspection. However, roadside inspection/weigh station environments are challenging for ADS-equipped vehicles and those commercial motor vehicles are not compatible with today’s roadside enforcement inspections, which rely on assistance from the driver.

The Enhanced CMV Inspection Program establishes a no-defect, point-of-origin inspection program for ADS-equipped commercial motor vehicles. The program includes an enhanced inspection standard and procedure for motor carriers operating ADS vehicles and a 40-hour CVSA training course and exam for motor carrier personnel who will be conducting the inspections.

For the new program, rather than the driver conducting a pre-trip inspection (as is currently done), for ADS vehicles, CVSA-trained motor carrier personnel will conduct the Enhanced CMV Inspection Procedure on selected ADS-equipped vehicles from their fleets at the point of origin before dispatch, as well as in-transit inspections at a dictated interval throughout the trip. Once on the road, the ADS vehicle would be required to communicate to law enforcement while in-motion that it passed the origin/destination inspection, its automated driving systems (as a whole) are functioning, and it is operating within its operational design domain. Those ADS vehicles will then bypass fixed inspection sites. En-route roadside inspections of ADS vehicles by law enforcement officials would be limited to situations where an imminent hazard is observed or during a post-crash investigation. In addition, all ADS vehicles must be able to respond to law enforcement should an officer attempt to pull over a vehicle. Any truck or trailer or commercial motor vehicle combination that fails the Enhanced CMV Inspection Procedure at the point of dispatch must be repaired.

The announcement of this new inspection procedure, standard and training curriculum marks the beginning of an exhaustive and substantive process to officially launch elements of the new Enhanced CMV Inspection Program. Commercial motor vehicle law enforcement, the autonomous trucking community and state and local government officials are continuing to work together toward the completion of the new program, including the development of the safety data message set for the ADS-equipped CMV to communicate to law enforcement, while maintaining rigorous enhanced safety standards. Until a solution to this element is finalized, the Enhanced CMV Inspection Program does not waive any applicable regulatory requirements pertaining to the safe operation of a CMV.

“This enhanced inspection procedure for driverless commercial motor vehicles will ensure the highest level of safety and provide law enforcement with the information they need to be confident about the roadworthiness of autonomous trucks operating on our roadways,” said CVSA President Maj. Chris Nordloh with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

“Enhanced CMV inspections will raise the bar for road safety while giving law enforcement increased transparency into autonomous truck operations,” said Ariel Wolf, general counsel for the Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association. “We’re thankful to CVSA for developing this new standard in close collaboration with industry, and we look forward to continuing this partnership as we prepare for the program’s implementation in states nationwide.”

“ATA was pleased to work with CVSA, our automated truck suppliers and industry partners in developing an enhanced inspection policy for driverless commercial vehicles,” said Kevin Grove, director of safety and technology policy for the American Trucking Associations (ATA). “This is an important step that will facilitate safe and effective deployment of automation.”

For more information about CVSA’s new Enhanced CMV Inspection Program for automated vehicle motor carrier operations, contact CVSA Executive Director Collin Mooney.

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

Call us Today at 888-758-4757 or email us at to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.