FMCSA withdraws obsolete regulatory guidance

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration today, June 4, announced the immediate withdrawal of a number of items of regulatory guidance concerning the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations that are now obsolete as a result of rules published by FMCSA and found in 49 CFR part 393, “Parts and accessories necessary for safe operation.” All prior interpretations and regulatory guidance concerning the applicability of the obsolete FMCSRs that were published in the Federal Register, as well as memoranda and letters concerning those regulations, no longer may be relied upon as authoritative if they are inconsistent with the revised and/or amended regulations.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance petitioned FMCSA in February 2008 to withdraw certain regulatory guidance concerning 49 CFR part 393. The regulatory guidance that was the subject of the petition had been made obsolete by three final rules concerning (1) protection against shifting and falling cargo, and (2) general amendments to part 393 of the FMCSRs. FMCSA granted CVSA’s petition on July 9, 2009.

FMCSA published a final rule on Sept. 27, 2002, revising the regulations in 49 CFR part 393 concerning protection against shifting and falling cargo for CMVs engaged in interstate commerce. The previous cargo securement regulations required all cargo-carrying CMVs to be equipped with devices that provided protection against shifting or falling cargo and that met the requirements of one of four “options” (Options A, B, C, or D). The September 2002 cargo securement final rule replaced Options A through D with (1) more comprehensive performance-based general requirements; and (2) detailed requirements for a number of specific commodities, the proper securement of which generated the most disagreement between industry and enforcement agencies. Because Options A through D no longer are a part of the cargo securement regulations, the regulatory guidance provided in questions 2, 5, and 6 to section 393.100 (reference 62 FR 16419, dated April 4, 1997) no longer is valid and has been withdrawn.

FMCSA published a final rule on Aug. 15, 2005 (70 FR 48008), amending part 393 of the FMCSRs. As part of this rule, FMCSA clarified that CMVs must have both windshield wiping and windshield washing systems that meet the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 104, “Windshield wiping and washing systems.” As such, the regulatory guidance provided in question 1 to section 393.78 (reference 62 FR 16418, dated April 4, 1997) no longer is valid and has been withdrawn.

FMCSA further clarified that the requirements of section 393.201 apply to all CMVs, including trailers, and not only buses, trucks and truck tractors. As such, the regulatory guidance provided in question 2 to section 393.201 (reference 62 FR 16419, dated April 4, 1997) no longer is valid and has been withdrawn.

FMCSA also revised section 393.201(d) to make the regulation more practical. Paragraph (d) was intended to prohibit welding on vehicle frames constructed of certain types of steel that are weakened by the welding process, but FMCSA says the previous wording was overly restrictive. To address this issue, paragraph (d) now allows welding that is performed in accordance with the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations, and therefore, the regulatory guidance provided in question 3 to section 393.201 now is redundant and no longer necessary and has been withdrawn.

FMCSA says it is removing the following regulatory guidance: Section 393.78, question 1; section 393.100, questions 2, 5, and 6; and section 393.201, questions 2 and 3, published online at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rulesregulations/administration/fmcsr/FmcsrGuideDetails.aspx?menukey=393.