CVSA Wants HOS and Other Exemptions Scaled Back
According to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, the increasing number of regulatory exemptions approved by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is causing major confusion in enforcement by roadside inspectors.
In a letter sent to FMCSA last week, CVSA Executive Director Collin B. Mooney said there were way too many exemption applications or renewal requests granted in 2015, including some for vehicle equipment, hours-of-service and more.
“Due to the amount of exemptions allowed by FMCSA in the past year, an excessive burden is being placed on inspectors to ensure all active exemptions are being followed properly,” Mooney said in the letter. “Furthermore, this puts an undue training burden on agencies that must be diligent in informing all inspectors of the new exemptions and ensuring they understand and apply the exemptions properly.
WHAT CVSA FEARS:
- An increase in exemptions will decrease the level of safety expected by the current regulations
- Roadside inspectors may no longer enforce the regulations
- Roadside inspectors may stop enforcing certain regulations all together.
WHAT CVSA SUGGESTS:
- State and local law enforcement be included in new rulemaking and exemption decisions since they perform most roadside inspections.
- FMCSA reduce the total number of exemptions it grants.
While CVSA opposes frequent exemptions, it does not object to these exemptions on an individual basis. However, when abused, Mooney argues that exemptions complicate the enforcement process, causing major inconsistency in enforcement.
“It undermines the very foundation of the federal commercial motor vehicle enforcement program: uniformity,” he stated in the letter.
FMCSA Spokesman Duane DeBruyne said the letter is currently under review by the agency.
Excessive exemptions do, without a doubt, complicate the system. Furthermore, what’s the point of having rules and regulations in place if so many commercial drivers are excluded from following them? There needs to be consistency. Otherwise, innocent people on the roadway may ultimately pay the price.
Article by Michael Leizerman
Michael Jay Leizerman is the managing partner at EJ Leizerman & Associates, LLC, Toledo, OH. He is a frequent lecturer who teaches other attorneys how to handle truck accident cases across the country.