FMCSA out-of-service on uniform regulations

WASHINGTON, (July 25, 2003) — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced this week to withdraw from a proposal that would make the North American Uniform Out-of-Service Criteria part of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

The criteria is currently published by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), an association of federal, state and provincial officials responsible for the enforcement of motor carrier safety regulations in the U.S, Canada and Mexico. In 1998 the Federal Highway Administration — then responsible for enforcing federal motor carrier safety rules — opened a rulemaking to determine if the criteria should be made part of the federal rules.

The FMCSA says that most of the comments it received expressed concern that subjecting the criteria to the federal rulemaking process would undermine the efforts of states, provinces, and industry to work together through CVSA in developing the criteria and adopting changes as necessary.

While the agency said it didn’t agree that the mere act of adopting the criteria into the regulations would impact the current process, it did point out problems and regulatory tangles such a move could create. Adoption of the criteria would mean that federal personnel could only use guidelines included in the federal regulations, which can only be revised through formal rulemaking. State enforcement personnel would be limited to the laws and regulations of their states, which are allowed to adopt more stringent requirements than those specified in the federal regulations if they feel a safety problem isn’t adequately addressed. Therefore, federal adoption of the criteria might only increase the likelihood of inconsistencies between tolerances used by federal and state officials, the FMCSA ruled.

“The current process for maintaining the criteria provides an effective mechanism for federal, state and provincial officials and industry representative from the U.S., Canada and Mexico to work together to ensure uniform international enforcement tolerances,” FMCSA said.

The decision appeared in the July 24 Federal Register which can be accessed at


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