FMCSA denies CVSA’s personal conveyance petition

October 2, 2020

Mark Schremmer

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has denied a petition regarding personal conveyance from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, saying the proposal didn’t provide a “sufficient safety basis” to initiate a rulemaking.

After FMCSA announced its hours-of-service changes in May, CVSA petitioned the agency to update the definition of personal conveyance and to include a mileage limit.

In a Sept. 18 letter, FMCSA told CVSA that its petition was being denied. Without proper research, the agency said that any mileage limits would be “arbitrary.”

CVSA’s petition called into question FMCSA’s regulatory guidance concerning drivers’ use of a commercial motor vehicle for personal conveyance, saying it does not provide sufficient precision for enforcement officials for motor carriers. In addition, CVSA said a driver could drive hundreds of miles over the course of several hours, all designated as personal conveyance.

“While we acknowledge the CVSA’s concerns, we do not believe there is a sufficient safety basis for initiating a rulemaking,” FMCSA wrote. “The agency is unable to estimate the extent to which drivers may be circumventing the hours-of-service requirements by claiming personal conveyance status, or to the extent to which drivers’ violations result in safety critical events.”

FMCSA said it believes its 2018 regulatory guidance is appropriate considering the available data.

“A rulemaking would propose certain time or distance limits on the use of personal conveyance status without data to determine its economic impact,” the agency wrote. “The rulemaking would essentially propose arbitrary limits without any evidence of safety critical events to be avoided. Irrespective of the limits to be considered, FMCSA would have no basis for estimating how many drivers per year would be affected by the changes or for developing a quantitative estimate of improvements in motor carrier safety.”

HOS petitions for reconsideration

In late August, FMCSA also denied petitions for reconsideration from CVSA, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and several safety groups that asked the agency to not move forward with its hours-of-service changes.

The changes went into effect on Sept. 29.

The Teamsters, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, and Parents Against Tired Truckers filed a petition for review of FMCSA’s final rule on Wednesday, Sept. 16 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

According to court documents, the petitioners have until Oct. 23 to submit a docketing statement and to file any motions in the case.  LL

Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.