The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced yesterday it has adopted as final several amendments to its regulations as required by the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users, or SAFETEA-LU.
Published in the Federal Register on July 5, 2007, the amendments cover a variety of issues, including state compliance plans under the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP); penalties for states that do not comply with the federal CDL program, and civil penalties for violation of out-of-service (OOS) orders.
Key points of the amended regs:
- In an effort to improve the national database of carrier safety statistics, states must now meet stricter guidelines for monitoring carrier safety and reporting the information to DOT in a timely manner in order to qualify for MCSAP funding.
- Stiffer penalties have been established for drivers and carriers violating OOS orders, including an increase in the minimum CDL disqualification period (180 days for a first offense; two years for the second) and higher fines.
- Carriers transporting hazardous materials will also face higher maximum penalties if violation of an OOS order results in death, serious illness or injury, or severe destruction of property. Under the new regulations, they will now be subject to penalties established by Hazardous Materials Regulations, which are higher than those set by FMCSRs.
- Other issues addressed include exemptions from hours-of-service rules for drivers in specific operations or in emergency situations.
The new regulations become effective September 4, 2007. However, states have until September 4, 2010 to come into compliance with the CDL program, giving them time to pass legislation and make systems changes to implement the new requirements.
For details, go to www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fedreg .