In a notice soon to be published in the Federal Register, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced it will be reopening comments on its 2016 Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) concerning mandatory state inspections of certain passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicles (CMVs).
In 2016, FMCSA published an ANPRM titled “State Inspection Programs for Passenger-Carrier Vehicles." The ANPRM announced that FMCSA was considering a requirement that States establish a program for annual inspections of passenger-carrying CMVs. FMCSA requested information from all interested parties that would enable the Agency to assess the risks associated with improperly maintained or improperly inspected passenger-carrying CMVs. The ANPRM also sought public comments concerning the effectiveness of the current FMCSA annual inspection standards, and data on the potential costs and benefits of a Federal requirement for each State to implement a mandatory inspection program. FMCSA inquired about how the Agency might incentivize States to adopt such programs.
The original ANPRM garnered only 20 comments, mostly opposing the proposal. As a result of not receiving sufficient information or data from stakeholders, the FMCSA withdrew the ANPRM in 2017.
In November of 2021, Congress passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Section 23008(a) of the IIJA directed FMCSA to, within 1 year after the date of enactment, to solicit additional comments on the ANPRM to determine if data and information exist to support moving forward with a rulemaking. Accordingly, the agency is reopening the docket and requesting the following responses from the industry to the following questions:
Does your State or the States in which you register your passenger-carrying CMV conduct mandatory inspections of such vehicles? Please indicate the State(s) in which your passenger-carrying CMVs are registered.
What vehicle types are included in the mandatory passenger-carrying CMV inspection program (e.g., motorcoaches, school buses, mini-buses, 9- to 15-passenger vans, etc.) and which are not included?
If your State has a mandatory program, briefly describe your inspection procedures and indicate which vehicle components are inspected.
How many total inspections are performed by your State annually for each of the following types of vehicles?
9- to 15-passenger vans
What is the estimated time required to complete each vehicle inspection?
What procedures are used to record the vehicle inspection?
If a vehicle does not pass an inspection, who addresses the issues? If it is done by someone other than the inspecting entity, is there a second inspection after the issues are addressed? On average, how many follow up inspections does it take to pass a vehicle?
Are mandatory vehicle inspections performed by State employees, by third party inspectors authorized by the State, or by passenger carrier employees through a State-authorized self-inspection program?
If vehicle inspections are conducted by a State-authorized third party or by passenger-carrier employees authorized by the State, are there differences in safety outcomes between those conducted by State employees and those conducted by third party inspectors or through a passenger carrier's State-authorized self-inspection facilities?
Are there any specific benefits or concerns related to using third-party inspectors or by others?
If inspections are conducted by third-party inspectors or by passenger carrier employed mechanics or technicians, what oversight is or should be required?
Should self-inspection or third-party inspections be options for compliance with a mandatory State inspection?
How does/would the cost of inspections differ between those conducted by State employees or by third-party inspectors?
What might be other preferable options?
The FMCSA is also asking stakeholders to weigh in on questions concerning monitoring the effectiveness of the program, the program's cost, and inspection facilities.
The comment period will close 30 days from the date the notice is published in the Federal Register, and interested parties can submit comments online to Docket No. FMCSA-2022- 0079.