FMCSA Targeting Vehicle Technology and Safety Fitness Changes in 2022

FMCSA Targeting Vehicle Technology and Safety Fitness Changes in 2022

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) agenda for the next 6 months was published Friday and outlines their regulatory and deregulatory focus for 2022.

The updated agenda has four new proposals in the pre-rule stage with formal notices scheduled to be issued between March and June of 2022.

These pre-rule stage topics include:

  • Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Revisions
  • Automatic Emergency Braking Systems
  • Safety Fitness Procedures, and
  • Unique Electronic Identification of Commercial Motor Vehicles

Other notable rules in the works from FMCSA include:

  • Broker and freight forwarder financial responsibility (an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking was previously published in 2018)
  • Third Party CDL testing rules
  • Safe integration of automated driving systems (an ANPRM was previously published in 2019)
  • Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Implementation Revisions

So, what can we expect with the new proposals in 2022?

Future Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Revisions

According to the proposal, many lessons were learned by FMCSA staff, State enforcement personnel, ELD vendors, and industry in the intervening years.

These lessons can be used to streamline and improve the clarity of the regulatory text and ELD specifications and answer recurring questions.

This led to four hours-of-service (HOS) rule changes that improved the workday for many truckers, including short-haul and team drivers, and increased overall flexibility while the overall structure of HOS rules has not changed.

These HOS changes affected the:

  • 30-minute rest break
  • team driving split sleeper berth exception
  • short-haul exemption, and
  • adverse driving conditions exemption

Knowing that there are technical modifications that could improve the usability of ELDs, the FMCSA is seeking information to determine what other changes would be warranted.

Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) standards in trucking

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will be seeking comments on a proposal to require and/or standardize equipment performance for automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems on heavy trucks.

NHTSA believes AEB systems represent the next wave of potentially significant advances in vehicle safety.

“Dynamic brake support and crash-imminent braking are AEB systems that potentially save lives and reduce moderate and less-severe rear-end crashes that are common on our roadways.”

Among 20 carmakers that have pledged to install automatic emergency braking systems in all their cars by 2022, NHTSA said that by the end of 2019, four of those manufacturers have met that goal: Tesla, Volvo, Mercedes, and Audi with many others likely meeting this goal today.

The rulemaking is expected to propose performance standards for AEB systems on heavy trucks and accompanying test procedures to measure the performance in NHTSA compliance testing.

Safety ratings changing to “Unfit” will be looked at again

In 2016, a proposed Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) rule would replace the current three-tier federal rating system of “Satisfactory, Conditional and Unsatisfactory” for federally regulated commercial motor carriers with a single determination of “Unfit”, which would require the carrier to either improve its operations or shut down.

At the time, FMCSA believed the rule would enable them to properly assess the safety fitness of approximately 75,000 companies a month.

This was quickly shot down from most trucking groups in the industry with the belief that the rule creates an environment that is not equal to all involved and, in many cases, allows a competitive advantage to certain carriers.

The Truckload Carrier Association stated that “the very fact that this rule would only determine the safety fitness of approximately 75,000 carriers is incomprehensible and discriminant to say the very least.”

The American Trucking Associations commented that “the term ‘unfit’ is applied to fleets that, comparatively speaking, are considered the least safe in the industry. Yet FMCSA lacks sufficient data on 4/5ths of the industry to make such a determination.”

The ATA said they could possibly support a future proposal of this sort only after the SMS data is made reliably indicative of individual fleet safety performance.

In 2017, it was suggested that the FMCSA should radically improve the CSA system.

However, the agency has yet to make an official decision on whether to incorporate the highly complex data method known as Item Response Theory into its Compliance, Safety, Accountability motor carrier safety rating program.

Next year, the FMCSA plans to gather information on how it can more effectively identify “unfit” trucking companies and remove them from the nation’s roadways. They will accomplish this by seeking public comment about the use of available safety data, including inspection data, in determining carrier fitness to operate and possible changes to the current three-tier safety fitness rating structure.

Unique Electronic Identification (E-ID) of Commercial Motor Vehicles

FMCSA requests public comments on potential amendments to require every interstate commercial motor vehicle to be equipped with an electronic device capable of communicating a unique identification number when queried by a roadside system.

The goal of this requirement would be to improve the effectiveness of the roadside inspection program by more fully enabling enforcement agencies to target their efforts at high-risk operators, while at the same time providing an incentive for safe and legal operations.

DOT and Driver Training

Truck drivers and fleet managers need continuous training on new FMCSA rules.

CNS offers a variety of in-person and online training courses for the specific needs or weaknesses of your company or its’ drivers.

Fleets that incorporate training alongside driver qualification, drug testing and fuel tax management can create a complete picture of fleet safety.

Our complete DOT Compliance Programs promotes proactive safety and will complement or become your current safety department, without the cost of employing the many staff members it takes to run an effective safety program.

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.

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