FMCSA Seeks Approval to Research Driver Schedules and Fatigue
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has requested approval from the Office of Management and Budget to investigate how commercial motor vehicle drivers’ schedules impact overall driver performance and safety. See 83 Fed. Reg. 53945 (October 25, 3018). The agency also seeks public comments on its proposal.
The FMCSA intends to match data collected from driver logs with crash information to determine the level of crash risk by hours of driving. The agency also plans to estimate, for similarly situated drivers, the difference in crash risk after restarts that include two nights and those that do not. FMCSA will work with the OMB on the methodologies of these new statistical data collections.
Specifically, the data collected will be able to address the following research questions:
- What is the relative crash risk by hour of driving (e.g., the number of total crashes by hour/the number of drivers by hour of driving);
- What is the relative crash risk by hour of driving per week (e.g., the number of crashes by hour of driving/the number of drivers by hour of driving per week);
- What is the relative crash risk of driving breaks (e.g., comparison of crash rates for drivers who take no breaks compared to drivers who take one and two 30-minute breaks in one day);
- What is the relative crash risk as a function of recovery periods that contain one period between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. compared to two periods between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. and as a function of weekly working hours before and after a 34-hour restart (i.e., compare the relative crash risk of schedules with more opportunities for restorative sleep during the natural circadian low); and
- How each of the HOS provisions is being used?
FMCSA Adds Propane to Rest Break Exemption
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has added propane fuels to the list of products subject to an exemption from the 30-minute rest break provision of the hours of service rules (49 CFR Part 395) on behalf of motor carriers and drivers operating tank trucks to transport certain petroleum-based products in interstate commerce. See 83 Fed. Reg. 56138 (November 9, 2018).
On April 9, 2018, FMCSA granted a limited exemption to the National Tank Truck Carriers, Inc. and the Massachusetts Motor Transport Association, Inc. from the requirement that drivers of commercial motor vehicles obtain a 30-minute rest break. The decision inadvertently excluded transportation of propane as an exempted product.
As now corrected, the rest break exemption applies to drivers of: U.N. 1170—Ethanol, U.N. 1202—Diesel Fuel, U.N. 1203—Gasoline, U.N. 1863—Fuel, Aviation, Turbine Engine, U.N. 1993—Flammable Liquids, n.o.s. (Gasoline), U.N. 3475—Ethanol and Gasoline Mixture, Ethanol and Motor Spirit Mixture, or Ethanol and Petrol Mixture, N.A. 1993—Diesel Fuel or Fuel Oil, U.N. 1075 and U.N. 1978—Propane Fuels.
PHMSA Issues Final Rules on Industry Petitions
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has issued a final rule in response to a number of petitions for rulemaking submitted by the regulated community to update, clarify, streamline or provide relief from miscellaneous requirements in the Hazardous Material Regulations. HM-219A; see 83 Fed. Reg. 55792 (November 7, 2018). The rule is effective December 7, 2018.
The changes include the following items:
- Incorporating by Reference multiple publications from the Compressed Gas Association, the Chlorine Institute and the Department of Defense.
- Revising the table in § 180.407(g)(1)(iv) to make this section consistent with the applicable packaging specification (e.g., § 178.347).
- Addressing inconsistencies with domestic and international labels and placards.
- Revising § 173.150(g) to include the use of the International System of Units (SI).
- Excepting limited quantities of “UN1942, Ammonium nitrate” from requiring permission from the Captain of the Port (COTP) before being loaded or unloaded from a vessel at a waterfront facility.
- Allowing for combination non-bulk packagings that are tested and marked for a liquid hazardous material to be filled with a solid hazardous material.
- Including an additional hazardous material description for transport in roadway striping vehicles.
- Extending the service life of interim compliant toxic inhalation hazard (TIH) tank cars to the full service life of all other tank cars.
- Allowing the use of plastic, metal or composite pallets to transport materials classed and marked as limited quantities.
- No longer mandating that excepted quantities comply with the emergency response telephone requirement.
- Harmonizing the recordkeeping requirements for portable tanks.
- Allowing for printing tolerances for labels and placards.
- Allowing electronic signatures for Environmental Protection Agency manifest forms.
- No longer requiring the service pressure to be marked on DOT 8 and 8AL cylinders.
- Acknowledging that the marked date of manufacture on a composite intermediate bulk container (IBC) may differ from the marked date of manufacture on the inner receptacle of that IBC.
- Revising the basis weight tolerance for fiberboard boxes from +/- 5% to +/- 10% from the nominal basis weight reported in the initial design qualification test report.
In petition P-1620, Labelmaster Services requested revisions to the HMR to address inconsistencies between international and domestic labels and placards. Specifically, the petition requested revisions to §§ 172.519(f) and 172.407(f) of the HMR to allow for the use of labels and placards conforming to the specifications in the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, the International Civil Aviation Organization Technical Instructions on the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air, the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code, or the Transport Canada Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations.
PHMSA found that the requested changes are likely to clarify some regulatory requirements and provisions that exist for the transportation of hazardous materials internationally, and are not likely to be onerous or costly for the regulated community. In the NPRM, PHMSA proposed revisions to §§ 172.519(f) and 172.407(f) of the HMR to allow for the use of labels and placards conforming to the specifications in the UN Recommendations, ICAO Technical Instructions, IMDG Code, or TDG Regulations, and is incorporating the changes in §§ 172.519(f) and 172.407(f) of the HMR as proposed.
In petition P-1641, CGA proposed to add new paragraphs § 173.301(a)(11) and (12) concerning valve requirements for cylinders. CGA requested that cylinder valves and cylinder valve protection caps manufactured on or after May 4, 2019, be required to conform to the requirements in “CGA V-9-2012, Compressed Gas Association Standard for Compressed Cylinder Valves, Seventh Edition,” to ensure standardization of cylinder valve designs and provide guidance to users on proper selection of valves. PHMSA’s review of the petition found that there is likely economic merit in undertaking a rulemaking as requested without any decrease to safety. In the NPRM, PHMSA proposed to add new paragraphs to § 173.301(a)(11) and (12) to the HMR to conform to the new standards for cylinder valves and caps as outlined in “CGA V-9-2012, Compressed Gas Association Standard for Compressed Gas Cylinder Valves, Seventh Edition.”
Some commenters on the proposal were concerned that the proposed requirements may not be appropriate or feasible for materials identified as “chemical under pressure,” such as UN3500 and UN3503. Specifically, the valves may not be appropriate for dispensing liquids, since they are more suitable for dispending a “true gas” and may not be suitable for valves meeting CGA V-9-2012 requirements. As an alternative to the proposed regulatory language, Dow suggested revising the requirement for CGA V-9- 2012 valves to exclude “chemical under pressure” from the requirements.
PHMSA is revising the HMR to ensure that cylinder valves follow uniform construction and performance standards for improved transportation safety of cylinders containing hazardous materials, but with an exception from the valve requirements made for those chemicals under pressure regulated under § 173.335. PHMSA is also extending the compliance date to give a grace period of one year after the rulemaking becomes effective to comply with the new valve cap requirements in § 173.301(a)(11) and (12).
Also, PHMSA is revising § 173.301(a)(11) to read: “Cylinder valves used on cylinders in liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) service are permitted to comply with the requirements of NFPA 58, Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code.” PHMSA also agrees that the CGA V-9-2012 standard should be cited in § 171.7 and is adding applicable regulatory text to this section.
Finally, in petition P-1656, Norris Cylinder proposed that PHMSA revise § 178.35(f)(7) to no longer require the marking of the service pressure on DOT 8 and DOT 8AL cylinders. After both a technical and policy review of the petition, PHMSA agrees with Norris Cylinder there is no safety reason to require marking the service pressure on DOT 8 and DOT 8AL cylinders. In the NPRM, PHMSA proposed to revise this section as requested by the petitioner. In response to the proposed changes in the NPRM, PHMSA received comments noting a typographical error in the proposed language in § 178.35(f)(7) specifying “DOT 4 or 4AL cylinders,” which should actually read “DOT 8 and 8AL cylinders.” This correction aligns with the original petition, as well as the preamble text in the NPRM. Therefore, PHMSA is revising § 178.35(f)(7) to no longer require DOT 8 and 8AL cylinders to be marked with the service pressure.