DOT shelves speed limiter proposal drops financial responsibility and sleep apnea proposals

FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY WITHDRAWN

The FMCSA has decided to withdraw a 2014 Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) which sought to increase minimum financial responsibility limits for motor carriers. The Agency stated that it does not have sufficient data or information to support further rulemaking.

Despite receiving thousands of comments in response to the ANPRM, commenters did not provide responsive information necessary to allow the Agency to proceed to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking – which oddly enough hasn’t seemed to stop them in the past. And a formally announced withdrawal is very odd as well.

In accordance with the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), the FMCSA was required to conduct a study on the issue of minimum financial responsibility limits for motor carriers. With skyrocketing medical costs and high-profile crashes i.e., Walmart vs Tracy Morgan and the Skagit River bridge collapse that far exceeded the insurance limits, FMCSA floated a proposal to more than triple those minimums to somewhere around $3.5 million. However, studies (including FMCSA’s own study) have shown that roughly half of 1% of all truck-involved crashes even exceed the current minimum levels.

SLEEP APNEA WITHDRAWN

FMCSA has also withdrawn its 2016 ANPRM on obstructive sleep apnea.

Per the Agency, “Upon review of all public comments to the ANPRM, FMCSA has determined there is”, — again — “not enough information available to support moving forward with a rulemaking action and so the rulemaking will be withdrawn”.
See regulations.gov RIN: 2126-AB88

SPEED LIMITERS SHELVED

In an under-the-radar move by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Department’s proposed speed limiter mandate was moved away from their active rulemakings list to a long-term agenda item. The proposed rulemaking would require the installation of speed limiters on all new heavy trucks & buses over 26,000 lbs.

The proposal was announced last September by then U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. Foxx touted the proposed mandate as a safety measure that could save lives and more than $1 billion in fuel costs each year.

The move away from the active list gives an indication that the Department will not pursue a rulemaking any time soon.
Given that federal regulation since President Trump’s inauguration has slowed to a crawl, the Administration’s stance on implementing new regulations likely had an impact on these regulations.

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