Those of you who actually read my monthly columns are likely aware that I am fundamentally lazy.
By this I mean that deep down, at the core of my being, I am totally happy to sit with my feet propped up, sipping a cocktail and watching the world go by.
“What in the world does that have to do with the price of tea in China?” you may ask.
Well, it means I am having a bit of writer’s block — probably the lingering effects of all tryptophan in my system from the gluttonous amount of turkey I ate over the holidays. So, instead of coming up with an original, insightful and slightly humorous article (which I have never been able to accomplish, ever), I decided to go with a “list” type article.
But instead of listing my favorite Christmas songs (the Dean Martin version of “Baby it’s cold outside” if you really want to know), or my New Year’s resolutions, I decided to list some potential regulations the folks at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have on the plate for this year.
See, I told you I was lazy. However, while I may be lazy, the FMCSA is working hard to pursue a number of rulemaking proposals in 2023.
First out of the gate is speed limiters. OK, this one is not new, and the notice of proposed rulemaking was published and open for comment last year. To that end, the FMCSA is currently reviewing over 14,500 comments received on this issue.
Just like most things in life, I may not know the answer, but I am never short on opinions. If you want to know my thoughts and potential issues with speed limiters, go back and read my article from June 2022.
Regardless of my thoughts or opinions, however, the FMCSA has said it “intends to proceed with a motor-carrier based speed limiter rulemaking” with a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking to be published by June 30.
BROKER & FREIGHT FORWARDER FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES
Next up are changes to the broker and freight forwarder financial responsibilities. Way back before COVID-19 — in September of 2018, to be exact — the FMCSA published an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) on this issue and asked for comments about the financial responsibilities of these entities.
Well, the FMCSA has said it plans to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) by Jan. 25 that “will propose changes to the broker and freight forwarder financial responsibility requirements as required by MAP-21.”
I am interested to see the NPRM and what will be proposed.
AUTOMATED DRIVING SYSTEMS
Also on the FMCSA’s agenda is a plan to publish an NPRM amending certain regulations related to the introduction of commercial trucks equipped with automated driving systems (ADS).
Proposed changes would include operations, inspection, repair and maintenance regulations of ADS trucks. The purpose of this is to “prioritize safety and security, promote innovation, foster a consistent regulatory approach to ADS-equipped CMVs and recognize the difference between human operators and ADS.”
The NPRM is scheduled to be published by Jan. 18. I suspect I will have some pretty strong opinions on this matter, so stay tuned.
AUTOMATIC EMERGENCY BRAKING SYSTEMS
In addition to the foregoing item, the FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) plan to join forces and issue an a NPRM to require/standardize the performance of automatic emergency breaking systems. This proposal is expected to publish by Jan. 30.
SAFETY FITNESS PROCEDURES
Finally, the FMCSA plans on publishing an ANPRM on safety fitness procedures.
In essence, this would focus on how to use current data and resources to identify unfit carriers. The FMCSA will also seek comments about possible changes to the current rating structure and changes to the methodology used to calculate these scores.
Needless to say, this one has my attention, and I am curious about which direction FMCSA ultimately takes in this matter. This ANPRM is scheduled to publish by Jan. 30.
So there you have it … my incredibly lazy list of things the FMCSA will be up to in the current year.
Interestingly, I think I may have just identified my next four or five columns for 2023. You have been warned.
Brad Klepper is president of Interstate Trucker Ltd. and is also president of Driver’s Legal Plan, which allows member drivers access to services at discounted rates. For more information, contact him at 800-333-DRIVE (3748) or interstatetrucker.com and driverslegalplan.com.
Brad Klepper is president of Interstate Trucker Ltd., a law firm entirely dedicated to legal defense of the nation’s commercial drivers. Brad is also president of Driver’s Legal Plan, which allows member drivers access to his firm’s services at discounted rates. For more information, contact him at (800) 333-DRIVE (3748) or interstatetrucker.com and driverslegalplan.com.