FMCSA easing fleet requirements for under-21 pilot program

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Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, May 14, 2024:

FMCSA officially removing driver-facing camera requirement from under-21 pilot

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced via a Federal Register notice that will publish Tuesday, May 14, that it is removing two requirements from its under-21 interstate pilot program, as directed by Congress.

The agency’s notice revises the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot (SDAP) program to remove the requirement that fleets in the program install or use inward facing cameras, as well as the requirement for carriers to obtain a Registered Apprenticeship number from the Department of Labor before being allowed to participate in the SDAP program.

The transportation spending package passed by Congress in March required FMCSA to remove the requirements to help boost participation in the program. FMCSA quickly got to work on revising the program, requesting approval to amend the SDAP from the White House Office of Management and Budget in April.

With the change in effect, motor carriers who are already participating in the SDAP program will no longer be required to use driver-facing cameras, or to maintain their approved Registered Apprenticeship program.

Motor carriers still may voluntarily decide to install or use inward-facing cameras or become an approved Registered Apprenticeship. They may also choose to include safety alerts from inward-facing cameras as part of their monthly data submissions, however, they will not be required to do so, even if they choose to use the cameras.

The agency noted that it is again accepting applications from motor carriers to participate in the pilot program. FMCSA will also reach out to carriers who previously applied but had not obtained a Registered Apprenticeship.

[Related: Slow start for the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program]

Penske joins PACT as charter member

The Powering America’s Commercial Transportation (PACT), a coalition focused on education and advocacy for accelerating the construction of nationwide infrastructure for medium- and heavy-duty zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), on Monday announced the addition of Penske Truck Leasing as a Charter Member.

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As a Charter Member, Penske will hold a permanent seat on the Board of Directors. Paul Rosa, Senior Vice President of Procurement and Fleet Planning from Penske will fill the Board seat.

“We’re pleased to join PACT and to support the ongoing dialogue about a sensible approach to ZEVs, fleet electrification, and the infrastructure investments needed to realistically support the trucking industry in the future,” said Art Vallely, President of Penske Truck Leasing. “We have been at the forefront of testing and running ZEV options, advising fleet customers on their use, and building charging infrastructure. Our nation requires a commonsense regulatory approach to be successful with this energy transition as well as more infrastructure investment to support the critical needs of the trucking industry which moves approximately 80 percent of all goods in the U.S.”

Penske currently operates and maintains a fleet of more than 445,800 vehicles across its businesses in North America on behalf of itself and its customers.

“Penske is a tremendous asset to PACT. Its longstanding customer relationships and deep understanding of fleet operational needs will help close the knowledge gap that currently exists between the utility and trucking sectors,” said Ritchie Huang, PACT Board Member and Executive Manager for Government Affairs at Daimler Truck North America. “We’re excited to have Penske’s involvement in PACT and look forward to incorporating their perspective into our strategic planning going forward.”

In addition to Penske, PACT members include Cummins, Daimler Truck North America, Navistar Inc., Volvo Group North America, J.B. Hunt Transport, Pitt Ohio, Pilot Travel Centers, ABB E-mobility, BC Hydro, Burns & McDonnell, Chateau Energy Solutions, EV Realty, Geotab, Greenlane, InductEV, Mortenson Construction, Prologis Inc., Voltera, WattEV, and Zeem Solutions.

[Related: Daimler Truck, Volvo Trucks and Navistar ink battery truck 'PACT']

CRST gets pre-CDL team driving waiver renewed

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is renewing a waiver held by CRST (CCJ Top 250, No. 21) that allows a commercial learner’s permit holder who has passed the CDL skills test but not yet received their CDL to drive without a CDL holder in the front seat, effectively allowing them to operate as a team.

The CDL regulations in 49 CFR 383.25(a)(1) require a CDL holder with the proper CDL class and endorsements necessary to operate the CMV to accompany a CLP holder and be physically present in the front seat of the CMV next to the CLP holder at all times.

CRST has held the exemption since 2016. FMCSA announced in August it was provisionally renewing the waiver for five years, through Sept. 23, 2028, as long as the terms and conditions of the waiver are met.

A Federal Register notice publishing Tuesday, May 14, confirms the renewal following a review of comments filed to the provisional renewal.