DG Digest: FMCSA reviewing HOS rules, FAA seeks further data on drones, and the EPA wants to designate certain ‘high-priority’ chemicals

The penultimate week of the summer season was not quite as busy as last week’s heavy action; however, the federal government did have some actions of note, particularly to motor carriers, drone aircraft operators, and chemical manufacturers.  See the week’s events below:


The agency proposed amendments to its hours-of-service (HOS) requirements to provide greater flexibility for drivers subject to the HOS rules without adversely affecting safety. This would be accomplished by altering the short-haul exception to the record of duty status (RODS) requirement available to certain commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers, modifying the adverse driving conditions exception, increasing flexibility for the 30-minute break rule by requiring a break after 8 hours of driving time (instead of on duty time) and allowing on-duty/not driving periods as qualifying breaks from driving, modifying the sleeper berth exception to allow a driver to spend a minimum of 7 hours in the berth combined with a minimum 2-hour off-duty period, provided the combined periods total 10 hours (rather than the current 8/2 split), and allowing one off duty break that would pause a truck driver’s 14-hour driving window. Comments on this notice must be received on or before October 7, 2019. See the proposal here

The agency announced that it will hold two public listening sessions concerning potential changes to its hours-of-service rules for truck drivers. On August 19, 2019, FMCSA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeking comment on proposed changes to its hours-of-service (HOS) requirements to provide greater flexibility for drivers who are subject to the HOS rules without adversely affecting safety. (See the notice above in our blog) The listening sessions will be held in Dallas, TX, and Washington, DC.  The first listening session will be held on August 23, 2019, in Dallas, TX, and a subsequent listening session will be held in September 2019, on a date to be announced.  See the details here

FMCSA also proposed amendments to the Agency’s financial assistance programs resulting from the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.  This proposal would reorganize the Agency’s regulations to create a standalone subpart for the High Priority Program. It would also include other programmatic changes to reduce redundancies, require the use of 3-year MCSAP commercial vehicle safety plans (CVSPs), and align the financial assistance programs with FMCSA’s current enforcement and compliance programs. Comments on this notice must be received on or before October 7, 2019.  Here’s your window to the changes


The agency invited public comments about its intention to request Office of Management and Budget (OMB) renewal approval for information collection 2120–0765 regarding drone aircraft registration. Drone aircraft registration is necessary to ensure personal accountability among all users of the national airspace system. Such registration also allows the FAA and law enforcement agencies to address non-compliance by providing the means for identifying an aircraft’s owner and operator. This collection also permits individuals to de-register or update their record in the registration database. Written comments should be submitted by September 23, 2019.  See the notice here


Under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) the EPA is proposing to designate 20 chemicals as High-Priority Substances for risk evaluation. The supporting docket materials identify the proposed designation for each of the chemicals and instructions on how to access the chemical-specific information, analysis and basis used by EPA to support the proposed designations.  EPA is providing a 90-day comment period.  Comments must be received on or before November 21, 2019.  See the action here

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