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FMCSA to propose rules for 2023

Ensuring, and sometimes increasing, safety measures for the trucking industry is a hallmark responsibility of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Looking into 2023, here are five proposed rules that will help truck drivers stay safe while they’re on the road keeping our country running, as reported by Freightwaves.com.

The first FMCSA proposed rule deals with integrating Automated Driving Systems (ADS) into commercial vehicles. This rule has been included in the FMCSA’s notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) and its approval status is defined by it being included in the NPRM. Its projected publication date is Jan. 18, 2023. This rule looks to amend FMCSA regulations to better handle the advancement of ADS equipped motor vehicles on U.S. highways.

“The proposed changes to the CMV operations, inspection, repair, and maintenance regulations prioritize safety and security, promote innovation, foster a consistent regulatory approach to ADS-equipped CMVs, and recognize the difference between human operators and ADS,” according to DOT.

The FMCSA, in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), also proposed a rule dealing with automatic braking systems in cases of emergency. As with integrating ADS in commercial vehicles, this rule’s status is defined by it being included in the NPRM. Its projected publication date is Jan. 30, 2023. The automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems would standardize braking equipment for heavy trucks.

“The rulemaking is expected to propose performance standards and motor carrier maintenance requirements for AEB systems on heavy trucks and accompanying test procedures for measuring the performance of the AEB systems in NHTSA compliance testing,” according to the DOT.

There is a separate proposed rule, projected publication as June 30, 2023, that considers speed limiters for heavy vehicles. This rule was included in the supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM) and was introduced in September 2016, in collaboration with the NHTSA. The SNPRM considers if additional requirements should be issued for commercial motor vehicle. The rule proposes that any CMV with a weight of 11,794 kilograms or more (26,001 pounds or more) that also has an electronic engine control unit, should have speed limiters that regulate the truck’s speed. The speed is to be determined by the FMCSA’s rulemaking.

Moving on from automated systems, the FMCSA proposed a rule which handles the fiscal responsibility of broker and freight forwarders. This rule’s stage is defined as being included in the NPRM and Jan. 25, 2023, is its projected publication date. This rule will deal eight separate areas of fiscal responsibility including but not limited to: group surety bonds, surety or trust responsibilities if a broker or freight forwarder encounters fiscal failure, suspension of broker or freight forwarder authority, assets being readily available, overall enforcement authority, and specific trust fund filings or revisions.

The final proposed rule handles safety fitness procedures, was included in the NPRM, and has a projected publication date of Jan. 30, 2023. With this rule the FMCSA is researching ways it could use data to rid roadways of unfit motor carriers. The FMCSA has intentions of receiving public comment on using data (both safety and inspection) to delineate a carrier’s ability to operate.

“The Agency would also seek public input on possible changes to the current three-tier safety fitness rating structure,” according to DOT.

The DOT has not committed to any specific publishing date for these rules. This is due, in part, to the lengthy process incumbent in rules being issued.

“Significant rules are essentially those that are likely to have high benefits or costs or are potentially controversial,” according to DOT.

Any rule proposed by a DOT agency must be reviewed and approved by both the secretary of transportation and the Office of Budget and Management.