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Changes to drug-testing procedures, cargo securement rules, fines, and fees are all on the way, according to the DOT’s latest rulemaking plan.

Though a few rule changes are expected to be finalized in 2023 — such as new rules allowing the use of saliva for drug testing — many more are still in the early stages of development. The DOT expects to propose about 20 rule changes this year affecting commercial vehicle safety, and the public will be given the chance to weigh in.

The following key actions appear on the agency’s latest roadmap, listed in the order in which they’re expected to arrive. Items listed as “overdue” were expected in December 2022 but are running late.

TopicDescriptionNext Step
Oral fluid testingThis rulemaking would give DOT-regulated employers the option to test saliva instead of urine for drugs.Final rule: overdue
Stability controlThe FMCSA will update its rules to require motor carriers to maintain their electronic stability control systems.Proposed rule: overdue
Tank endorsementThe FMCSA intends to update its “tank vehicle” definition to clarify the need for a tank endorsement.Final rule: overdue
UCR feesThis annual rule will adjust the Unified Carrier Registration fees for 2024 and beyond.Proposed rule: overdue
CDL testingThe FMCSA intends to allow states to give a CDL knowledge test prior to issuing a learner’s permit and a CDL skills test to permit holders from other states.Proposed rule: Jan. 2023
Vehicle automationThe FMCSA plans to update its regulations to account for commercial vehicles equipped with automated driving systems.Proposed rule: Jan. 2023
Cargo securement & vehicle defectsThis change would further harmonize cargo securement rules with Canada, alter the rules for securing lumber, and add specificity to violations grouped under §396.3(a)(1).Proposed rule: Feb. 2023
Drug & Alcohol ClearinghouseThe FMCSA intends to revise its Clearinghouse rules to improve error-correction procedures, queries, and consent requirements.Proposed rule: March 2023
Emergency brakesThe DOT plans to require and/or establish performance standards for automatic emergency braking systems on heavy trucks.Proposed rule: March 2023
Bus exitsThe FMCSA intends to amend the rules for determining the location, type, size, and number of emergency exits required on buses.Proposed rule: March 2023
Safety rating processThe FMCSA will be reevaluating its safety rating process, including its acute/critical violation lists, its three-tier rating system, and how it unearths unfit carriers.Info-gathering: March 2023
Self-insuranceThe FMCSA will be amending the fees collected for processing new self-insurance applications and for ongoing monitoring of self-insurance requirements.Proposed rule: April 2023
Test refusalsThe DOT plans to establish an appeals process for drivers accused of refusing a drug or alcohol test.Proposed rule: May 2023
Speed limitersThe FMCSA intends to require the use of speed limiters on interstate CDL-class vehicles.Second proposed rule: June 2023
Drug/alcohol recordsThe DOT is planning to update its drug/alcohol testing rules in Part 40 to allow electronic recordkeeping.Proposed rule: Aug. 2023
Bus accessibilityThe DOT will be adopting new accessibility guidelines for buses and vans under 36 CFR 1192.Proposed rule: Oct. 2023
ELD updateThe FMCSA will be “streamlining and improving the clarity” of its electronic logging device (ELD) rules.Proposed rule: Nov. 2023
CMV identificationThis rule change would require all CMVs to be equipped with an electronic device that can send a unique vehicle ID to a roadside system, allowing enforcement to better track and target unsafe carriers.Proposed rule: Nov. 2023
Recreational activitiesThis change will add an exemption for 9- to 15-passenger vehicles used within a 150-air-mile radius for recreational activities.Proposed rule: Nov. 2023
RecordkeepingThe FMCSA intends to propose changes to the record retention rules in Appendix A to Part 379 to remove overlapping and unnecessary requirements.Info-gathering: Nov. 2023
Rules of practiceThe FMCSA will update the rules governing enforcement proceedings to enhance due process and make the rules more understandable.Proposed rule: Nov. 2023
Emergency exemptionsThe DOT wants to limit the rules from which drivers may be exempted during declared emergencies and add reporting requirements for such drivers.Proposed Dec. 2022; Final rule not yet scheduled
Technical amendmentsThe FMCSA will issue its annual list of technical corrections to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and will incorporate the latest edition of the Out-of-Service Criteria.Final rule not yet scheduled
Broker/freight forwarder insuranceThe FMCSA will raise the financial security amount for brokers from $10,000 to $75,000 and, for the first time, establish insurance rules for freight forwarders.Proposed Jan. 2023; Final rule not yet scheduled
FinesThe FMCSA will increase its fines for inflation, which it’s required to do annually. The last increase occurred on January 6, 2023.Final rule in late 2023/early 2024

Long-term actions

The FMCSA is working on other rule changes that have an uncertain future. This includes:

  • Removal of the rules governing drivers’ employment applications.
  • A rule to allow buses and hazmat carriers to obey traffic control devices at railroad crossings, rather than stopping at every one.
  • Updates to the Unified Registration System.
  • Changes to the New Entrant program to ensure applicants know the safety rules.

Key to remember: The DOT is planning numerous rule changes for 2023 and beyond. Stay tuned for rulemaking actions from the FMCSA and other DOT agencies, and weigh in when public comments are sought.