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  • Henry Seaton

FMCSA panel to address regulatory reform, autonomous trucks

An advisory panel for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will meet in June to discuss two topics that are generating considerable attention these days: Autonomous vehicles and potential opportunities to reduce regulatory burdens. The Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) is slated to meet June 12-13 at FMCSA headquarters in Washington, DC. MCSAC is tasked with developing recommendations regarding:

  • Highly automated commercial vehicles (HACVs) (Task 17-1)

  • Development of FMCSA's fiscal 2018-2022 strategic plan (Task 17-2)

  • The review of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) to identify potential opportunities to reduce regulatory burdens while ensuring that Federal safety programs continue to achieve safety outcomes (Task 17-3)

Demonstrations of HACV technology by truck makers and others in recent months have generated increasing discussion of the viability of advanced driver assistance systems on large commercial vehicles, FMCSA noted, saying that it both encourages advanced safety technologies and is concerned that their testing and use ensures the highest levels of safety. FMCSA is asking the MCSAC to consider the application to HACV operations of specific regulations, including commercial driver's licenses; use of electronic devices; hours of service; and vehicle inspection, repair and maintenance.

"Because the FMCSRs include certain requirements that could be considered an obstacle to the on-road testing of HACVs, the operation of some HACVs on a public roadway without a person in the driver seat may occur only after some form of regulatory relief has been granted by FMCSA," the agency said. FMCSA asked the advisory committee to recommend possible requirements for any pilot program or temporary exemption to operate an HACV without a person in the driver’s seat on a public roadway.

Regulatory review FMCSA asked the MCSAC to address President Trump's Executive Order 13777, “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda.” That executive order and Executive Order 13771, "Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs," have effectively halted regulatory activity since Trump took office..

The MCSAC is tasked with identifying regulations that it believes to be outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective or that impose costs that exceed benefits. "The MCSAC’s recommendations would be based on the members’ understanding of the regulatory requirements, how the rules have been implemented by the industry and enforcement officials, and crash, injury, and fatality data," FMCSA said.

The MCSAC meeting is open to the public, although FMCSA advised that members of the public should notify MCSAC of their attendance by June 7. For details on the meeting and topics to be discussed, read the Federal Register notice.

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