At the beginning of 2022, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration forecast several important rulemakings that did not come to full fruition. FMCSA would, according to the Fall 2021 edition of the Unified Regulatory Agenda, adopt regulations imposing time or mileage limits on the personal conveyance use of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), automatic emergency braking, and a re-examination of the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program the agency uses to evaluate motor carrier safety.
Not everything happened as planned, but not because FMCSA fell asleep at the wheel. After all, FMCSA did obtain confirmation of its first full-time Administrator, Robin Hutcheson, since 2019. Rather, as an executive branch agency in a mid-term election year, FMCSA paid a lot of attention to top-of-mind public issues – the COVID-19 pandemic and the supply chain crisis.
In 2022, FMCSA extended and/or modified COVID-19 waivers four separate times. Those waivers, first initiated in 2020, were finally terminated by FMCSA on Oct. 15, 2022. Along with the COVID-19 waivers, FMCSA maintained a carrier reporting system to evaluate the continued utilization and need for the waivers.
The supply chain crisis saw FMCSA accelerate the Congressionally-approved Apprenticeship Pilot Program for Under-21 drivers. Supply chain met COVID-19 as FMCSA also granted waivers for the use of third parties to instruct and evaluate applicants for commercial driver’s licenses. FMCSA delayed the start of the Entry-Level Driver Training program to allow state driver licensing agencies and training providers more time to adjust to COVID– while continuing to produce new drivers to meet the demand created by the supply chain crisis.
Anticipated rulemakings were not abandoned in 2022 – just delayed by a shift in focus. Mandatory speed limiters on CMVs were expected in 2022, but now are scheduled for 2023. A rulemaking on automatic emergency braking met the same fate. FMCSA resurrected a petition from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on electronic (“unique” or “universal”) identification devices (UIDs). We will learn more about UID in 2023, as well. And FMCSA ended one rulemaking by denying the CVSA request for time and distance limits on the use of the personal conveyance mode.
Government regulatory agencies have a long memory. The rulemakings intended yesterday are often just the agenda for tomorrow. What is to come from FMCSA in 2023? We will look at that in an upcoming PrePass blog.
The PrePass blog and podcasts are published as a public service of PrePass®, the most reliable and technologically advanced weigh station bypass and electronic trucking toll payment platform in North America. PrePass also includes INFORM™ Safety and Tolling software for improving truck safety scores and lowering toll costs.