DOT Regulatory Priorities for 2017

This is what I found out today about DOT’s regulatory priorities for 2017. . .

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) priorities for 2017:

The statutory responsibilities of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) relating to motor vehicles include reducing the number, and mitigating the effects, of motor vehicle crashes and related fatalities and injuries; providing safety performance information to aid prospective purchasers of vehicles, child restraints, and tires; and improving automotive fuel efficiency. NHTSA pursues policies that encourage the development of nonregulatory approaches when feasible in meeting its statutory mandates. It issues new standards and regulations or amendments to existing standards and regulations when appropriate. It ensures that regulatory alternatives reflect a careful assessment of the problem and a comprehensive analysis of the benefits, costs, and other impacts associated with the proposed regulatory action. Finally, it considers alternatives consistent with the Administration’s regulatory principles.

NHTSA plans to issue a final rule on vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications in Fiscal Year 2017. V2V communications are currently perceived to become a foundational aspect of vehicle automation. NHTSA will publish a final rule on heavy vehicle speed limiters in response to petitions for rulemaking and recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board. In Fiscal Year 2017 NHTSA will also finalize rulemaking for Tire Fuel Efficiency in response to requirements of the Energy Independence & Security Act of 2007. In response to requirements in MAP-21, NHTSA plans to continue work toward a final rule that would require automobile manufacturers to install a seat belt reminder system for the front passenger and rear designated seating positions in passenger vehicles. The seat belt reminder system is intended to increase belt usage and thereby improve the crash protection of vehicle occupants who would otherwise have been unbelted.

In addition to numerous programs that focus on the safe performance of motor vehicles, the Agency is engaged in a variety of programs to improve driver and occupant behavior. These programs emphasize the human aspects of motor vehicle safety and recognize the important role of the States in this common pursuit. NHTSA has identified two high-priority areas: Safety belt use and impaired driving. To address these issue areas, the Agency is focusing especially on three strategies-conducting highly visible, well-publicized enforcement; supporting prosecutors who handle impaired driving cases and expanding the use of DWI/Drug Courts, which hold offenders accountable for receiving and completing treatment for alcohol abuse and dependency; and adopting alcohol screening and brief intervention by medical and health care professionals. Other behavioral efforts encourage child safety-seat use; combat excessive speed, driver distraction, and aggressive driving; improve motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian safety; and provide consumer information to the public.

Despite being included on the list of long-term actions, underride protection for rear guards on trailers and underride protection on single unit trucks are not included as priorities for 2017.

And, of course, there is absolutely no mention of underride protection on the sides of large trucks.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) priorities for 2017:

The mission of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving commercial trucks and buses. A strong regulatory program is a cornerstone of FMCSA’s compliance and enforcement efforts to advance this safety mission. FMCSA develops new and more effective safety regulations based on three core priorities: Raising the safety bar for entry, maintaining high standards, and removing high-risk behavior. In addition to Agency-directed regulations, FMCSA develops regulations mandated by Congress, through legislation such as MAP-21. FMCSA regulations establish standards for motor carriers, commercial drivers, commercial motor vehicles, and State agencies receiving certain motor carrier safety grants and issuing commercial drivers’ licenses.

FMCSA’s regulatory plan for FY 2017 includes completion of a number of rulemakings that are high priorities for the Agency because they would have a positive impact on safety. Among the rulemakings included in the plan are: (1) Carrier Safety Fitness Determination (RIN 2126-AB11), (2) Entry Level Driver Training (RIN 2126-AB66), and (3) Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (RIN 2126-AB18).

Together, these priority rules could improve substantially commercial motor vehicle (CMV) safety on our Nation’s highways by increasing FMCSA’s ability to provide safety oversight of motor carriers and commercial drivers.

In FY 2017, FMCSA plans to issue a final rule on Carrier Safety Fitness Determination (RIN 2126-AB11) to establish a new safety fitness determination standard that will enable the Agency to prohibit “unfit” carriers from operating on the Nation’s highways and contribute to the Agency’s overall goal of decreasing CMV-related fatalities and injuries.

In FY 2017, FMCSA plans to issue a final rule on Entry Level Driver Training (RIN 2126-AB66). This rule would establish training requirements for individuals before they can obtain their CDL or certain endorsements. It will define curricula for training providers and establish requirements and procedures for the schools.

Also in FY 2017, FMCSA plans to issue a final rule on the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (RIN 2126-AB18). The rule would establish a clearinghouse requiring employers and service agents to report information about current and prospective employees’ drug and alcohol test results. It would require employers and certain service agents to search the Clearinghouse for current and prospective employees’ positive drug and alcohol test results as a condition of permitting those employees to perform safety-sensitive functions. This would provide FMCSA and employers the necessary tools to identify drivers who are prohibited from operating a CMV based on DOT drug and alcohol program violations and ensure that such drivers receive the required evaluation and treatment before resuming safety-sensitive functions.

Despite being included on the list of long-term actions, acting on our petition to raise the minimum liability insurance for trucking companies from $750,000 (per incident) is not listed as a priority for 2017.

Is it any wonder that we have taken upon ourselves the task of  doing something about it and  drafted comprehensive underride protection  legislation and are looking to Congress to mandate that DOT carry out effective underride protection rulemaking in a timely fashion?!

We are also trying to push for action on the minimum liability insurance issue — not raised since the early 1980s.

Note: In identifying our regulatory priorities for the next year, the Department considered its mission and goals and focused on a number of factors, including the following:

  • The relative risk being addressed
  • Requirements imposed by law
  • Actions on the National Transportation Safety Board “Most Wanted List”
  • The costs and benefits of the regulations
  • The advantages of nonregulatory alternatives
  • Opportunities for deregulatory action
  • The enforceability of any rule, including the effect on agency resourcesThis regulatory plan identifies the Department’s regulatory priorities-the 19 pending rulemakings chosen, from among the dozens of significant rulemakings listed in the Department’s broader regulatory agenda, that the Department believes will merit special attention in the upcoming year. The rules included in the regulatory plan embody the Department’s focus on our strategic goals.

 

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