Lease and Interchange of Vehicles Final Rule - Period Extended to Seek Reconsideration for 60 Days (June 26, 2015)
On May 27, FMCSA published a final rule regarding the lease and interchange of passenger vehicles. Following this publication, a number of members contacted ABA with various concerns about the final rule. In an effort to provide all members an opportunity to petition FMCSA to reconsider the final rule, ABA requested the Agency extend the initial 30-day deadline, for 60 days. FMCSA granted the request, and now members have until August 25, 2015, to petition the Agency to reconsider the final rule.
By way of background, the final rule regarding the lease and interchange of passenger vehicles, was originally proposed in 2013, and ABA provided comments along with other ABA-member companies in November of 2013. To look at the initial notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) or ABA’s submitted comments, please click here. http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FMCSA-2012-0103-0001
In response to ABA’s comments, FMCSA changed many of the elements of the initially proposed rule, in the final rule. However, in a number of instances, definitions, interpretations and expanded requirements were included in the final rule that could significantly alter the way many bus operators do business. With a couple of the new requirements, the paperwork burden could potentially become a hardship to operators, and if not implemented correctly, could also negatively impact their safety profile as calculated by the Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) program and the Safety Measurement System (SMS).
As part of the rulemaking process, following the publication of a final rule there is an opportunity for individuals and the industry as a whole to file petitions for reconsideration to request the Agency to rethink, reconfigure and/or re-evaluate some or all of the requirements of the final rule, based on unintended consequences resulting from those requirements. The deadline for filing a petition is usually 30 days after the publication of a final rule, and in this case was June 26.
However, last week, ABA and UMA came together as a unified voice on behalf of the industry and requested the Agency extend the deadline for filing of petitions for reconsideration for 60 additional days. http://bit.ly/1OcDaQE
The Agency has granted the extension request.
The extension means operators will have more time to evaluate the requirements of the rule and how these requirements will affect their business, provide additional opportunities to caucus with other operators on best practices to comply with the rule, and conduct additional discussions with agency officials to clarify individual clauses and requirements. An example of such continuing discussions took place during the recent Bus Industry Safety Council meeting in Baltimore, where more than 100 operators came together with the regulators during 3 separate sessions that touched on this issue. http://bit.ly/1KVLezf
We encourage each and every operator to take a careful look at the final rule, and evaluate how it will impact your business and your operational practices. ABA will hold another open conference call on Wednesday, July 29 at 2 pm ET, to gather further feedback and learn of concerns you have about the final rule or implementation.
With this extension, the new deadline to file petitions for reconsideration will be August 25.