In September 2022, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) published its Significant Rulemaking Report, listing the new regulations anticipated in 2023 from all U.S. Transportation Department regulatory agencies, including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
As the title indicates, the report shows only “significant” rulemakings. By definition, a “significant” regulatory action comes with a $100 million or more price tag or marks a major shift in government policy. But while all new regulations may not be “significant,” all are important, because all rules require time, money, and focus for compliance.
Now we can view the entire panoply of expected new trucking rules in 2023. The latest edition of the Unified Regulatory Agenda was released in January 2023 by the White House. In addition to the “significant” rulemakings, the following are expected from FMCSA and NHTSA:
Camera-based mirror systems. Labeled “Alternative Options for Rearview Mirrors,” this NHTSA rulemaking will seek to certify standards for cameras replacing mirrors. NHTSA and FMCSA have already approved specific camera uses. This would set a standard for all vehicle manufacturers to follow.
Electronic stability control. FMCSA would follow the NHTSA standards and require the installation and maintenance of electronic stability control (ESC) systems. ESC uses automatic computer-controlled braking of individual wheels to assist the driver in maintaining control in critical driving situations.
ELD Revisions. About November 2023 expect an FMCSA Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) applying the “many lessons learned” by the agency about electronic logging devices. This rulemaking seeks to “streamline and improve the clarity of regulatory text” concerning ELDs, as well as address “technical modifications responsive to concerns of affected parties.”
Amendments to CDL Requirements. FMCSA will propose permitting state driver licensing agencies (SDLAs, aka Departments of Motor Vehicles or DMVs) to administer the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) knowledge test prior to issuing a commercial learner’s permit (CLP). This rulemaking would also allow SDLAs to administer the CDL skills test to CLP holders domiciled in other states. The goal is to facilitate the training of more truck drivers. That NPRM is anticipated early this year.
Safety Regulations for Autonomous Trucks. You may not recognize the topic by its formal title, “Safe integration of Automated Driving Systems-Equipped Commercial Motor Vehicles”, but FMCSA proposes to amend a broad swath of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations to accommodate autonomous trucks while maintaining highway “safety and security.” The greatest challenge FMCSA identifies? To “recognize the difference between human operators and advanced driving systems.”
Look again at the “significant” rulemakings from the September 2022 report and understand there could be many, many trucking rules proposed in 2023.
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