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Driver issuesNewsTop StoriesTrucking Regulation

FMCSA priorities outlined in Biden’s 2022 budget

Automation, electric trucks, remote inspections highlighted in agency’s proposal

Regulations and standards related to automated driving and electric trucks are among the top priorities at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) based on details outlined within President Joe Biden’s $6 trillion budget unveiled on Friday.

The approximately $88 billion requested for the Department of Transportation in 2022 is essentially unchanged from the 2021 enacted funding level. Within that amount, $748 million was set aside for FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Safety Operations and Programs account and for Motor Carrier Safety Grants, roughly 10% less than what was enacted in 2021 for the agency’s main safety accounts.

Beyond those two line items, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s budget emphasized “transformational investment” in autonomous trucking, noting that FMCSA will continue to pursue the adoption of Level 2 and 3 Advanced Driver Assistance Systems as well as automated driving systems (ADS).

“FMCSA will continue by developing national uniform standards for interacting with ADS Level 4 and 5 automated commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) during roadside truck inspections, in work zone areas, in situations involving emergency response personnel and with deploying required hazard triangles with disabled automated CMVs.”

For FMCSA, Buttigieg’s and the Biden administration’s push for climate change mitigation measures means ramping up deployment of electric vehicles (EVs), including heavy-duty trucks.

“FMCSA plans to conduct research to support development of future regulations, procedures and guidance to roadside inspectors regarding inspecting EV trucks and responding to EV crashes,” according to the budget proposal. “Future work may build on planned research for autonomous driving system truck inspections and post-crash emergency response.”

It noted that FMCSA continues to conduct environmental assessments for future regulations “to ensure that only the most environmentally compliant and effective CMV regulations and guidance are promulgated.”

Buttigieg also signaled in his proposal that addressing “transportation equity” in commercial trucking could mean more attention paid to small-business truckers.

“FMCSA remains positioned to work with stakeholders to identify regulatory inequities and explore alternatives to support the adoption of short- and long-term solutions. A typical rulemaking can take about two years to complete for cases in which the agency identifies regulatory requirements that have a disproportionate impact on small businesses and socially or economically disadvantaged communities.”

Another target of FMCSA’s 2022 funding strategy will be programs set up to address large truck crashes, whereby, according to the proposal, the agency will:

  • Work with state partners to implement model minimum uniform crash criteria, vastly improving consistency, quality, and quantity of reported CMV crash data.
  • Update, for the expeditious exchange of critical roadside inspection data, the technology used by FMCSA and state partners for roadside inspections on large trucks, buses and drivers.
  • Enhance the current safety measurement system for more comprehensive identification of at-risk carriers.

It also noted that FMCSA will continue to focus on implementing the Training Provider Registry, in support of the Entry Level Driver Training Final Rule, which it affirmed will be fully implemented in FY2022.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by John Gallagher.

John Gallagher, Washington Correspondent

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.

9 Comments

  1. This is a joke. Doesn’t address extra parking or HOS to eliviate the consecutive amount of time that truckers pursue every day in dealing with shippers and recievers racing a clock.

  2. A reporter should ask our gay transportation secretary (who can’t say anything without using the word equity) if he knows what FMCSA stands for. Biden and his cabinet of freaks and misfits gotta go‼️

  3. Just shows how clueless government is about keeping economy going only intrested in there own pet project not county really shows there true colors

    1. All I want to know is how do you pass a law or anything else for that matters about the transportation industry if you have never participated in driving a big truck across country all I know is that the people that are running the country and or the Department of Transportation as far as that is concerned have no clue as to what they were talking about as far as autonomous trucks it’ll never work and that’s just my honest opinion but as far as the rest of the Department of Transportation goes I could do a better job standing on my head then what the current head of the Department of Transportation is doing if I were to Department of Transportation leader right now I would eliminate electronic logs you want truck drivers to be on your side you want to get reelected that’s what you need to do there’s an extra 3 million right there

  4. I invite anyone of those stuffed shirts to come and ride in my truck for a week so they can see what it’s like to live in an over regulated world.

  5. Well if this is the way they want it I say let’s give them a sneak peak at who truly runs this country shut them all down now I know that most of you drivers have bills and family’s to support but if we don’t take a stand now then when how much do we keep letting them take America is falling apart and we ate sitting by and letting them do it the America I grew up in had heart we made hard decisions that hurt for the good of our families and country and here we are again but much worse we are on the brink of becoming a communist country and we are doing nothing where is our heart America if we as truckers stand together we can make change without us the country stops it’s time to show them that we are done with the feds it’s time to fight for our freedom and our rights to live work and prosper

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