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  • Henry Seaton

FMCSA withdraws another rulemaking initiative

A little over a month after the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) cancelled its proposed rule on safety fitness determinations, the agency withdrew its advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) that pursued requirements for states to implement annual inspection programs for passenger-carrier vehicles. In its May 1, 2017 Federal Register notice, the agency said that after reviewing public comments in writing and at three listening sessions held in 2015, "there is not enough data and information available to support moving forward with a rulemaking action."

FMCSA noted that it received many comments from industry and the enforcement community about the cost of an inspection program and that the agency "does not foresee the availability of federal funding to incentivize the States to adopt such programs under its existing grant programs."

The withdrawal of the ANPRM and the SFD NPRM leave just a couple of significant rulemakings technically in place: An NPRM on speed limiters and an ANPRM on regulations governing sleep apnea. But even the Obama administration late last year had declared the next steps on sleep apnea uncertain. In the final fiscal 2017 funding package, Congress did not block the speed limiter proposal, but it did direct FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to consider certain factors, such as speed differentials and the costs and benefits of requiring retrofits of speed limiters on existing trucks.

With strong industry opposition to the speed limiter plan, FMCSA would appear to have virtually nothing on its regulatory agenda. Indeed, the Department of Transportation has not even published its monthly compendium of significant rulemakings since President Trump took office. The department cites its regulatory review and reform obligations as outlined in two of President Trump's executive orders: Executive Order 13771 and Executive Order 13777.

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