In a move that surprised no one, the same four groups that challenged the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) hours of service rules in the past have once again filed a petition for reconsideration with the Administrator of FMCSA. The groups are: Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Public Citizen, Truck Safety Coalition, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

The petition was filed on December 18, 2008. A portion of the Public Citizen news release issued that day follows here: “The federal government should reconsider a seriously flawed regulation that can compel professional truck drivers to work and drive 19th century sweatshop hours, four major safety organizations said. The groups – Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Public Citizen, the Truck Safety Coalition and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters – filed a petition for reconsideration today with the administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).” Stay tuned for more developments in what seems to be a “never-ending story.”

Intermodal equipment providers subject to regulations

For the first time, intermodal equipment providers will become subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). In a final rule, expected to be published in the December 17, 2008, Federal Register, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) mandates shared responsibility for the safety of intermodal equipment offered for transportation in interstate commerce.

The final rule requires intermodal equipment providers to:

Register and file an Intermodal Equipment Provider Identification report (Form MCS-150C) with FMCSA;
Establish a systematic inspection, repair, and maintenance program to assure the safe operating condition of each intermodal chassis;
Maintain documentation of their maintenance program; and
Provide a means to effectively respond to driver and motor carrier reports about intermodal chassis mechanical defects and deficiencies.
The final rule also includes inspection requirements for motor carriers and drivers operating intermodal equipment. The final rule will become effective in six months. Intermodal equipment providers will have 12 months to:

Establish systematic inspection, repair, and maintenance programs;
Establish recordkeeping systems; and
Submit a Form MCS-150C.
Intermodal chassis must be marked with a USDOT identification number within two years.