FMCSA seeking more input on how it decides if motor carriers are safe

Washington — As the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration considers revising how it determines if truck and bus companies are fit to operate safely, the agency is asking for feedback on research that could impact its decision.

FMCSA is looking for input on six studies. Topics include:

  • In-vehicle monitoring systems
  • The association between crashes and safety-critical events
  • The impact of federal compliance reviews on reducing crashes
  • The effectiveness of forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking systems on front-to-rear crash rates

Comments are due Feb. 12.

FMCSA determines whether motor carriers are able to operate safely by using existing motor carrier data and data collected during compliance reviews. This forms a three-tiered rating system of satisfactory, conditional or unsatisfactory.

The agency accepted comment through Nov. 29 on a possible new methodology for making this determination, considering input on:

  • Available science or technical information to analyze regulatory alternatives for determining carrier fitness
  • Current agency safety fitness determination regulations, including feedback on the process and impacts
  • Available data and costs for regulatory alternatives reasonably likely to be considered

In 2017, FMCSA withdrew a proposed rule that would have changed the SFD process for motor carriers.


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Original article published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Should states be allowed to make their own rules for truckers’ meal and rest breaks?

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is asking for comments on petitions seeking to restore California’s and Washington state’s rules on meal and rest breaks for commercial truck and bus drivers.

The agency had preempted both states’ rules, which gave drivers at least 30 minutes of off-duty mealtime for every five hours of work and a 10-minute rest period for every four hours of work for drivers transporting property.

FMCSA requests input on:

  • Whether – and to what extent – enforcement of a state’s meal and rest break laws with respect to intrastate property-carrying and passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle drivers has impacted the health and safety of drivers.
  • Whether enforcement of state meal and rest break laws as applied to interstate property-carrying or passenger-carrying CMV drivers will exacerbate existing truck parking shortages and result in more trucks parking on the side of the road, and whether any such effect will burden interstate commerce or create additional dangers to drivers and the public.
  • Whether enforcement of a state’s meal and rest break laws as applied to interstate property-carrying or passenger-carrying CMV drivers will dissuade carriers from operating in that state.
  • Whether enforcement of a state’s meal and rest break laws as applied to interstate property-carrying or passenger-carrying CMV drivers will weaken or otherwise impact the resiliency of the national supply chain.

In December 2018, FMCSA preempted California’s rules for property-carrying CMV drivers who are subject to hours-of-service regulations. The agency said the rules were incompatible with current federal HOS regulations and caused “a disruption in interstate commerce.” A little more than a year later, FMCSA granted a similar preemption petition for passenger-carrying CMV drivers in the state.

In November 2020, FMCSA granted a petition to preempt Washington state’s meal and rest break rules for property-carrying CMV drivers, determining that federal HOS regulations supersede the state’s rules.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Truck Safety Coalition, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, Parents Against Tired Truckers, and William B. Trescott have petitioned FMCSA to reverse those decisions.

The American Trucking Associations, the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association, the American Bus Association, and the Washington Trucking Associations submitted the original petitions for FMCSA preemption.

Comments are due Feb. 26.


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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Original article published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Speed-limiter proposal hot topic of House hearing

Robin Hutcheson
Photo: National Association of City Transportation Officials

Washington — Members of the House Highways and Transit Subcommittee veered from the focus of a recent hearing by challenging legislation that would require speed-limiting devices on heavy trucks.

During the Dec. 13 hearing on implementing provisions of the Infrastructure Investment and Job Act, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration head Robin Hutcheson fielded heavy questioning about the agency’s May 2022 advance notice of proposed rulemaking.

The ANPRM, however, isn’t part of the law.

“We share your commitment to drivers and certainly their safety and the safety of everybody who travels,” Hutcheson said in response to critical remarks on the ANPRM from Rep. Eric Burlison (R-MO). “We are underway in a process of rulemaking; however, we have not yet issued any notice of proposed rulemaking.”

Burlison interjected: “Well, I would encourage you to not implement that rule. I think you would have an outcry from [the trucking] community.”

The Department of Transportation’s Fall 2023 regulatory agenda lists December as a target date for publication of a second proposed rule.

In May 2022, FMCSA introduced an ANPRM that would mandate the installation of speed limiters on trucks, buses and multipurpose passenger vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds. The advance proposal expanded on a 2016 joint proposal from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and FMCSA. The latter is the lone agency listed on the ANPRM, which doesn’t suggest a top speed. The 2016 proposal specified capping speeds at 60, 65 or 68 mph.

FMCSA received nearly 16,000 comments on its updated advance proposal, which requested feedback from stakeholders on prompts including:

  • What percentage of the commercial motor vehicle fleet uses speed-limiting devices?
  • If in use, at what maximum speed are the devices generally set?
  • What training or skill sets are needed for motor carriers’ maintenance personnel to adjust or program electronic engine control units to set speed limits?

During the hearing, Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX) advised Hutcheson to “listen to the truckers” who believe the measure regulates them too strictly. “I think they would know better than the bureaucrats and, specifically, Congress on this.”

Said Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ): “Nobody’s asked for this. This is another creation of big government, in my opinion.”


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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Original article published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

FMCSA final rule scales back scope of regulatory relief during emergencies

Washington — Temporary hours-of-service exemptions and other regulatory relief for truckers during regional emergency declarations will be limited under a recently published Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration final rule.

Published Oct. 13 and set to go into effect Dec. 12, the rule:

  • Modifies the definition of “emergency” to clarify that emergency regulatory relief doesn’t apply to economic conditions caused by market forces, including material/supply shortages, labor strikes or driver shortages.
  • Removes the definition of “emergency relief” and amends the definition of “direct assistance” to adopt the vital components of the former definition of “emergency relief.”
  • Exempts drivers and motor carriers for 14 days – down from 30 – during regional emergency declarations issued by a governor, governor’s representative or FMCSA, and applies exemptions only from certain HOS regulations.

Presidential emergency declarations still will have 30-day exemptions and apply to current covered regulations, including those applicable to driver qualification requirements and vehicle inspections.

FMCSA declared and extended emergency relief to truckers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In December, the agency solicited comments on a notice of proposed rulemaking.

“By limiting the scope,” FMCSA says, “today’s rule clarifies that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations not relevant to most emergency situations remain in effect while retaining the agency’s flexibility to tailor emergency regulatory relief to the specific circumstances of an emergency.”


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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Original article published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

California governor vetoes bill banning driverless trucks

sh.truckLights.web.jpg
Photo: gorodenkoff/iStockphoto

Sacramento, CA — California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has vetoed legislation that would have banned autonomous trucks weighing 10,000-plus pounds from operating on the state’s roadways without a person on board.

A.B. 316 also would have prevented the California Highway Patrol and Department of Motor Vehicles from considering permits for AVs until 2029.

Newsom writes in a Sept. 22 veto message that the proposed bill is “unnecessary for the regulation and oversight of heavy-duty autonomous vehicle technology in California, as existing law provides sufficient authority to create the appropriate regulatory framework.”

The governor cites 2012 legislation that permits California’s DMV to work with the state highway patrol, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and “others with relevant expertise” to determine regulations related to autonomous trucks.

Lawmakers in January introduced A.B. 316 in the California Assembly. The bipartisan legislation was unanimously approved by the Senate Transportation Committee on July 12 and on Sept. 11 passed in the California Senate and Assembly.

The Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association backs the governor’s decision to veto the bill. “As a result, California’s safety experts can continue to evaluate autonomous vehicle technology and consider appropriate regulatory action,” AVIA Executive Director Jeff Farrah said in a press release.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters participated in a Sept. 19 rally calling on Newsom to sign A.B. 316 into law. In a Sept. 23 post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Teamsters General President Sean O’Brien wrote that Newsom, who vetoed the bill on a Friday evening, “doesn’t have the guts to face working people. He’d rather give away our jobs in the dead of night.”

O’Brien added that vetoing the bill is “giving a green light to put these dangerous rigs on the road.”


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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Original article published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Safe parking one focus of $80 million in FMCSA grants

Trucks line up at a Port of Los Angeles gate. (photo courtesy of the Port of Los Angeles)

Washington — Improving truckers’ access to safe parking is one of the initiatives being funded by more than $80 million in high priority grants from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The grant program provides funding for activities and projects aimed at strengthening trucking safety by way of the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program, as well as innovative technology, research and other projects. State and local governments, Native American tribes, political jurisdictions, nonprofit organizations, and institutions of higher education are among the groups eligible for funding.

The grant initiatives include a 65% increase in funding from last year for truck parking projects, as well as providing dynamic message signage – intended to help truck drivers locate open parking spaces in rest areas – along highways in Delaware, Indiana and Kentucky.

Other projects awarded grants include:

  • Research to support automated, location-based driver alerts via electronic logging devices that inform drivers of upcoming work zones
  • Enhancement of electronic screening technologies to detect vehicle violations, including automated license plate readers, U.S. Department of Transportation number readers, tire monitoring system, and hazardous material placard readers

“We depend on truck drivers every day, and we have a national responsibility to support their safety and job quality,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a press release. “Today, we are proud to deliver new funding that will improve safety on our nation’s roads.”


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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Original article published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

FMCSA considering revisions to safety fitness determinations

Photo Missouri DOT

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is asking for input on a possible new methodology for determining whether motor carriers are fit to operate safely.

The agency’s safety fitness determination process uses existing motor carrier data and data collected during compliance reviews to form a three-tiered rating system of satisfactory, conditional or unsatisfactory. In a notice published Aug. 29, the agency asks for stakeholder feedback on potential revisions to the process.

“The intended effect of this action is to more effectively use FMCSA data and resources to identify unfit motor carriers and to remove them from the nation’s roadways,” the notice states. “A successful SFD methodology may target metrics that are most directly connected to safety outcomes, provide for accurate identification of unsafe motor carriers and incentivize the adoption of safety-improving practices.”

FMCSA is seeking input on:

  • The need for a rulemaking to revise the regulations prescribing the safety fitness determination process.
  • Available science or technical information to analyze regulatory alternatives for determining the safety fitness of motor carriers.
  • Current agency safety fitness determination regulations, including feedback on the process and impacts.
  • Available data and costs for regulatory alternatives reasonably likely to be considered.

Additionally, the agency requests input on 12 specific questions related to safety fitness determinations, including whether to retain the three-tiered rating system.

FMCSA notes in the notice that its safety fitness determination system “is resource-intensive and reaches only a small percentage of motor carriers.” In fiscal year 2019, the agency and state partners conducted fewer than 12,000 compliance reviews among a population of more than 567,000 interstate motor carriers.

Comments are due Oct. 30.


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Original article published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

New survey asks: What are the trucking industry’s top concerns?

What are the trucking industry’s top concerns?

Photo: FMCSA

Arlington, VA — Wanted: input from trucking industry stakeholders on the most critical issues facing the industry.

An annual survey conducted by the American Transportation Research Institute – the research arm of the American Trucking Associations – asks respondents to rank their top three issues from a selection of 26. The list includes:

Respondents can also submit concerns not included on the list.

“The annual Top Industry Issue Survey has long been a crucial part of understanding the challenges facing our country’s supply chain,” ATA Chair Dan Van Alstine said in a press release. “ATRI’s research provides an opportunity for thousands of trucking industry professionals, from drivers to executives, to weigh in on the most important topics that affect trucking and collectively decide on the best strategies for addressing each.”

The deadline to complete the survey is Sept. 29. The results are set to be released Oct. 14 during the 2023 ATA Management Conference and Exhibition in Austin, TX.

Fuel prices and a shortage of drivers were the top two concerns on the 2022 list. Multiple safety-related issues followed, including a lack of safe places for truckers to park (third) and detention/delay at customer facilities (sixth).


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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Original article published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

FMCSA launches Training Provider Registry for entry-level drivers

Photo: FMCSA

Washington — A group of House Republicans is moving to repeal a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration final rule that stipulates minimum training requirements for entry-level truck drivers.

Reintroduced on July 19 by Rep. Bob Good (R-VA), the Trucking Workforce Improvement Act (H.R. 4738) would rescind the rule, which sets minimum training standards for first-time applicants for Class A or B commercial driver’s licenses or those seeking a CDL upgrade to Class A or B. The bill has 14 co-sponsors.

The rule further establishes standards for drivers aiming to obtain hazardous materials, passenger or school bus endorsements for the first time. Affected entry-level drivers must complete training from a provider listed on the Training Provider Registry before taking a CDL skills test.

In a press release, Good calls the rule “regulatory overreach” and cites as impetus for the bill a perceived driver shortage that has long lingered as an industry debate.

“My bill will remove obstacles to entry for aspiring truck drivers, enable more opportunities for well-paid jobs and unleash the American economy,” he said.

The final rule was initially published in December 2016, with an effective date of Feb. 7, 2020. That date was later pushed back to February 2022.

Jack Van Steenburg, executive director and chief safety officer at FMCSA, suggested the shortage was a myth while speaking about the rule when it went into effect.

“With an increasing number of people applying for CDLs over the past year, there has never been a more important time to implement minimum uniform training standards that ensure new drivers have both the knowledge and skills to operate safely,” he said in a press release. “The ELDT regulations were developed with input from driver and training organizations, motor carriers, state licensing agencies, safety advocacy groups, and insurance companies.”


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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Original article published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

House committee advances truck parking act and other bills

Original article published by Safety+Health

Photo: Missouri Department of Transportation

Washington — The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, along with 16 other bills, during a May 23 markup.

Introduced by Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL), the act (H.R. 2367) would empower the transportation secretary to issue grants for projects that create truck parking. It also would allow for expanded parking at current truck parking areas and prohibit charging drivers for any parking spaces created under the act.

“I grew up in a family trucking business,” Bost said in a committee press release. “I understand how difficult, and oftentimes dangerous, it can be when America’s truckers are forced to park in an unsafe location. By expanding access to parking options for truckers, we are making our roads safer for all commuters and ensuring goods and supplies are shipped to market in the most efficient way possible. This is a matter of public safety, and I’m proud to have led on this important legislation.”

Among the other bills approved:

  • The Licensing Individual Commercial Exam-takers Now Safely and Efficiently (LICENSE) Act of 2023 (H.R. 3013), which would direct the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to revise federal regulations on state or third-party administration of commercial driver’s license knowledge tests. In addition, states or third parties would be allowed to administer driving tests regardless of which state an applicant lives in or where they received driver training.
  • The Motor Carrier Safety Selection Standard Act (H.R. 915), which would direct FMCSA “to develop a new safety fitness determination process to change the way a motor carrier is rated.”
  • H.R. 3372, which would establish voluntary 10-year pilot programs for states to increase truck weights on federal interstates to 91,000 pounds on six axles.

The committee postponed its consideration of the Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy (DRIVE) Safe Integrity Act (H.R. 3408) – a bill concerning a pilot program for 18- to 20-year-old interstate truck and bus drivers. The status of the bill is undetermined for future markups.

All 17 of the bills passed by the committee now go before the full House.


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 info@mccrarencompliance.com to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.