MOTOR CARRIER (HOURS OF SERVICE & LIVESTOCK) – Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration grants 90-day waiver from 30-minute rest break requirement for the transportation of livestock. That’s restricted to July, August and September 2013.

“Hours of Service; Limited 90-Day Waiver From the 30-Minute Rest Break Requirement for the Transportation of Livestock.”

Notice of Waiver. July 11, 2013.

Premise of this is that the 30-minute rest break requirement for the new (effective July 1, 2013) Hours of Service regulations for motor carriers from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will exacerbate harm to livestock transported by truck during the seasonally hotter months of July, August and September.

This preempts inconsistent state and local requirements.

But this is just a waiver.

No word on next year.

FMCSA maintains that there is no safety trade-off or penalty for this concession to the health and wellbeing of livestock: “The Agency has determined that the waiver, based on the terms and conditions imposed, would likely achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved absent such waiver.”

FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY ADMINISTRATION (RULES FOR LOAD SECUREMENT) / “[The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration] renews the Flatbed Carrier Safety Group’s (FCSG) exemption which allows the securement of metal coils on a flatbed vehicle, in a sided vehicle, or in an intermodal container loaded with eyes crosswise, grouped in rows, in which the coils are loaded to contact each other in the longitudinal direction. Motor carriers may continue to use the pre-January 1, 2004 cargo securement regulations for the transportation of groups of metal coils with eyes crosswise, as this loading configuration is not currently covered under the Agency’s commodity-specific rules for securing metal coils in 49 CFR 393.120.”

“Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Exemption Renewal for the Flatbed Carrier Safety Group.”

June 11, 2013. Notice Of Renewal Of Exemption; Request For Comments.

A simple observation for those who do not follow trucking regulation and law: Means of securement of this particular type of load are hereby made a matter of federal law, with implications for tort standards under the court-made doctrine of “negligence per se” based upon failure to adhere to a regulation or law pertaining to safety measures – here for metal coils on a flatbed truck trailer. 

MOTOR CARRIER (FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY ADMINISTRATION) / Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration proposes new template for medical examination report to be used by physicians that are certified by the FMCSA to perform medical examinations of commercial motor carrier drivers.

“Medical Examiner’s Certification Integration.”

May 10, 2013. Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

See FMCSA announcement here.  

“FMCSA proposes to require certified medical examiners (MEs) performing physical examinations on drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMV) to use a newly developed Medical Examination Report (MER) Form, MCSA-5875, in place of the current MER Form and to use Form MCSA-5876 for the medical examiner’s certificate (MEC). In addition, MEs would be required to report results of all completed commercial drivers’ physical examinations (including the results of examinations where the driver was found not to be qualified) to FMCSA by close of business on the day of the examination. This would include all CMV drivers who are required to be medically certified to operate in interstate commerce, not only those who hold or apply for commercial learner’s permits (CLP) or commercial driver’s licenses (CDL). Reporting of this information would be accomplished, by completing a CMV Driver Medical Examination Results Form, MCSA-5850, via their individual password-protected National Registry web account. For holders of CDLs and CLPs, FMCSA also proposes to electronically transmit driver identification, examination results, and restriction information from the National Registry system to the State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs). This includes those that have been voided by FMCSA because it finds that an ME has certified a driver who does not meet the physical certification standards. The Agency would also transmit medical variance information (exemptions, skills performance evaluation certificates and grandfathered exemptions) for all CMV drivers electronically to the SDLAs. Transmission of this information would allow authorized State and Federal enforcement officials to be able to view the most current and accurate information regarding the medical status of the CMV driver, all information on the MEC, and the medical variance information (as defined above) to include the issued and expiration dates.”

Noteworthy FMCSA Declaration – “U.S. Department of Transportation Declares N.C. Truck Driver in Fatal Hit-and-Run Crash to be an Imminent Hazard to Public Safety” – and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration “has ordered him not to operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce”.

See FMCSA announcement here.

MOTOR CARRIER (PREEMPTION) / FMCSA Grants Order Determining that Alabama Metal Coil Securement Act is Federally Preempted.

March 5, 2013., Order; Grant Of Petition For Determination Of Preemption.

“FMCSA grants a petition submitted by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) requesting a determination that the State of Alabama’s Metal Coil Securement Act (the Act) is preempted by Federal law. Federal law provides for preemption of State commercial motor vehicle (CMV) safety laws that are more stringent than Federal regulations and (1) Have no safety benefit; (2) are incompatible with Federal regulations; or (3) would cause an unreasonable burden on interstate commerce. FMCSA has determined that there is insufficient support for the claimed safety benefits and that the Act places an unreasonable burden on interstate commerce.

“On June 26, 2009, FMCSA sent a letter to then-Governor Bob Riley of Alabama stating that the Act appeared to be incompatible with the requirements of FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program. FMCSA also drew attention to two Federal laws authorizing preemption of State legislation (49 U.S.C. 14506 and 31141) and indicated that they might be applicable. The Agency urged State officials to work together with FMCSA officials to resolve any conflict between State and Federal law. Governor Riley responded on August 26, 2009, explaining that the Act was adopted in response to a number of accidents in Alabama involving the transport of metal coils. Governor Riley took the position that Alabama’s metal coil load securement certification requirements were not preempted by Federal law.

“On December 22, 2010, ATA petitioned FMCSA for a determination that Alabama’s metal coil load securement certification requirements and penalties create an unreasonable burden on interstate commerce and are preempted under 49 U.S.C. 31141. ATA contended that Alabama’s requirement that drivers obtain certification in metal coil load securement is more stringent than and incompatible with Federal metal coil safety regulations.

In its December 22, 2010 letter, ATA also requested a determination that the requirement that the driver carry the certification and display it upon demand is preempted by 49 U.S.C. 14506. The recent amendment to the Act, however, removed this requirement, rendering this aspect of ATA’s request moot.

“By letter dated January 25, 2011, the ADPS responded to ATA’s petition. ADPS acknowledged that the requirements of the Act are more stringent than Federal regulations, but stated that the requirements should not be preempted because they have safety benefits and do not place an unreasonable burden on interstate commerce.”