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The FMCSA's Agenda and What Motor Carriers Should Be Aware Of

HNI Associate Vice President

At the National Tank Truck Carriers annual conference last month, Anne Ferro, administrator ofTransportation News the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, touted the results of CSA and outlined her agenda for the coming months. Here's a look at the key points motor carriers should be ready for:

Hunting Down Chameleon Carriers with Unified Registration System

At the top of the list on FMCSA's agenda is hunting down "chameleons" and "reincarnated" carriers that have been shut down for poor safety and reform under a different name. To bust these lawbreakers, the FMCSA has proposed a Unified Registration System (URSwhich would require motor carriers, freight forwarders, and brokers to register with FMCSA and periodically update their information on a new registration form. 

The URS is currently awaiting approval by the White House Office of Management and Budget. Ferro said that final wording on the system will be published this summer, and the URS will be in operation in 2014.

Setting Rules for Electronic Onboard Recorders

Ferro also shared news on electronic onboard recorders. The FMCSA plans to release a proposal about EOBRs by Sept. 30 and a final rule in 2014 that will take effect in 2016. “People have asked the agency to provide a level playing field,” Ferro explained, by requiring a carriers and drivers to log hours honestly.

The October deadline was set in the MAP-21 Act, the federal legislation passed in 2012 to improve commercial motor vehicle safety and to keep unsafe drivers off roads.

Moving Ahead with New Hours of Service on Schedule

The FMCSA plans to move ahead with the new hours of service regulations as scheduled, in spite of legal challenges. The new regulations take effect July 1.

To no avail, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) has requested the FMCSA postpone the start date for hours of service until a federal appeals court rules on ATA's objections to some parts of the rules. It is unclear when the court will give an opinion on ATA's challenges. 

Creating a Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

Ferro also noted that the FMCSA is poised to establish a clearinghouse of drug and alcohol information for drivers. The MAP-21 legislation requires DOT to establish a clearinghouse to capture drivers’ positive drug/alcohol test results and records of refusals to test within two years. Motor carriers will be required to query the clearinghouse when screening new driver applicants and annually thereafter. Third-party service agents will be permitted to conduct these inquiries on behalf of motor carriers.

How will your firm react to the FMCSA's agenda? The above, and other regulatory changes mandated by MAP-21, will shape the inner workings of many transportation companies. An HNI relationship manager is a great resource for navigating compliance. Please share your thoughts in the comments section.


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Topics: Transportation Safety / Compliance