WASHINGTON, D.C. — A senior official at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recommended that the pupil transportation industry be on the lookout for significant new proposed rules that are planned for next year.
Larry Minor, the associate administrator at the FMCSA, discussed upcoming proposed the upcoming rulemaking during the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services conference on Friday. This is the association’s first in-person conference since before the pandemic, in 2019.
One of the proposed rules includes revising the commercial driver safety fitness procedures that were published in 2016. Minor noted that the agency plans to start from scratch and seek information on how it might use resources more effectively to identify and remove unfit motor carriers from the nation’s roadways. He added that the agency is seeking public comment about the use of available safety data, including inspection data, in determining carrier fitness to operate commercial vehicles.
Minor added that rulemaking would also include a review of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) that the agency uses to rate driver fitness.
Another upcoming proposal is on Automatic Emergency Braking Systems, which is a joint rulemaking of the FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Whether or not this would include school buses remained undetermined at this writing.
Rulemaking is also pending on Speed Limiters. School Transportation News reported on similar proposed rulemaking in 2016, when the U.S. Department of Transportation sought comment on a proposal to require speed limiters on heavy-duty commercial vehicles that weigh more than 26,000 pounds GVWR, including school buses.
Minor explained that the agency is now taking a carrier-based approach rather than the OEM approach used by NHTSA and FMVSA in the previous proposals. The agency is drafting a supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which it anticipates being released in 2023.
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Another proposed rulemaking is the Unique Electronic Identification of Commercial Motor Vehicles. Minor added that the FMCSA will request public comment on potential amendments to the FMCSR to require every commercial motor vehicle operating in interstate commerce to be equipped with an electronic device capable of communicating a unique identification number when quired by a roadside system.
He explained that this would apply to school buses and help enhance safety and help with identifying vehicles on the road and if they should be pulled over for a destination inspection.
Other proposed rulemakings include Safe Integration of Automated Driver Systems and Electronic Logging Devices.