Speed limiters among FMCSA's top rulemakings in 2023. (Photo: John Gallagher/FreightWaves)

The U.S. Department of Transportation issued in September its latest Significant Rulemakings Report summarizing the status of such rulemakings for each of its agencies.

“Significant rules,” according to DOT, “are essentially those that are likely to have high benefits or costs or are potentially controversial.” Significant proposed or final rules issued by a DOT agency must also be reviewed by the secretary of transportation and the Office of Management and Budget before they can be issued.

For the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, five significant proposed rules have been scheduled for 2023, with each summarized and listed below in order of their projected publishing date — DOT emphasizes it is not committed to specific dates.

Integration of ADS-equipped commercial motor vehicles

Stage: notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM)

Projected publication date: Jan. 18, 2023

Summary: FMCSA proposes to amend its regulations to address the integration of Automated Driving System (ADS)-equipped commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) onto roadways. “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.”

Broker and freight forwarder financial responsibility

Stage: NPRM

Projected publication date: Jan. 25, 2023

Summary: FMCSA issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) seeking comment in September 2018 on rule revisions mandated by Congress in 2012, which raised the financial security amount for brokers to $75,000. The ANPRM considered eight separate areas related to broker and freight forwarder financial responsibility, which will inform the upcoming NPRM: group surety bonds/trust funds; assets readily available; immediate suspension of broker/freight forwarder operating authority; surety or trust responsibilities in cases of broker/freight forwarder financial failure or insolvency; enforcement authority; entities eligible to provide trust funds for form BMC-85 trust fund filings; forms BMC-84 and BMC-85 trust fund revisions; and household goods.

Safety fitness procedures

Stage: ANPRM

Projected publication date: Jan. 30, 2023

Summary: FMCSA is seeking information on how it might use data more effectively to identify and remove unfit motor carriers from the roadways. FMCSA plans to seek public comment on using safety data and inspection data to determine a carrier’s fitness to operate. “The Agency would also seek public input on possible changes to the current three-tier safety fitness rating structure.”

Automatic Emergency Braking Systems

Popular title: AEB Systems

Stage: NPRM

Projected publication date: Jan. 30, 2023

Summary: A joint rulemaking of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and FMCSA will seek comments on a proposal to require and/or standardize equipment performance for automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems on 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.”

Heavy vehicle speed limiters

Stage: supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM)

Projected publication date: June 30, 2023

Summary: FMCSA is issuing an SNPRM as a follow-up on a speed limiter rulemaking issued jointly by FMCSA and NHTSA in September 2016. The new rulemaking will consider whether additional regulations should be issued concerning CMV manufacturer requirements. “Specifically, motor carriers operating CMVs with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of 11,794 kilograms or more (26,001 pounds or more), whichever is greater, that are equipped with an electronic engine control unit (ECU) capable of governing the maximum speed be required to limit the CMV to a speed to be determined by the rulemaking and to maintain that ECU setting for the service life of the vehicle.”

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