Pace limiters, AVs and double-brokering: A Q&A with FMCSA’s Earl Adams Jr

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Because the Federal Motor Provider Security Administration and its contractors end poring over greater than 15,000 feedback on pace limiters, the company stays on observe to announce a rule this yr, in keeping with Deputy Administrator Earl Adams Jr.

Earl Adams Jr., FMCSA deputy administrator

FMCSA Deputy Administrator Earl Adams, Jr.

Retrieved from FMCSA on February 28, 2023


Adams, who labored in Maryland politics previous to being promoted from FMCSA chief counsel earlier this yr, described pace limiters as “a tough problem.” However he emphasised that the company is aware of pace is a number one reason for crashes.

“As you may think about, it is taken a while, however we’re shifting ahead,” Adams mentioned. “Our plan was all the time someday in 2023. And I believe we’re nonetheless on observe to have the ability to meet that.”

The deputy administrator supplied some regulatory insights on pace limiters, AVs and double-brokering in a roughly 20-minute interview with Transport Dive.

Editor’s notice: This interview has been condensed for brevity and readability.

TRANSPORT DIVE: Any preliminary ideas as you dig via all these love letters to your workplace about pace limiters?

EARL ADAMS JR.: They had been love letters. They had been, they had been great. You already know, it was both the biggest or second-largest variety of feedback the FMCSA has obtained. It’s noteworthy. I give all credit score to our group of each FMCSA people and consultants who went via all of these feedback and ready the responses to them as we’re working via the necessary rule.

Once we have a look at the Nationwide Roadway Security Technique, safer speeds is a key part. And so with the ability to discover the best steadiness, which is all the time the case in good rulemaking, that is our problem. I believe we’re as much as it.

In my conversations over the previous couple of weeks, I have been very pleasantly stunned by the variety of carriers that use pace limiters, and have used them for a few years, and who perceive the worth and advantages.

Ultimately — although there’s by no means gonna be full settlement — it should be clear that we’ve achieved the purpose. That’s, an iterative course of the place the general public is allowed to provide us suggestions, we take into account it, after which we provide you with the ultimate rule.

Because you’re the company’s lead on AV regulation, any phrase after we may see rulemaking on autonomous vans?

ADAMS: Because the federal regulator, we’ll set the nationwide guardrails for this sector.

Once we walked within the door in January 2021, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg laid out his innovation ideas. After which, throughout the modes, we’ve been working very laborious and diligently on with the ability to set up these guardrails. Till that point, the states are all engaged, and we’ve been speaking to and dealing carefully with all of them the place ready and doable, sharing information, and understanding what they’re seeing.

Additionally I give credit score to the Nationwide Freeway Site visitors Security Administration, our sister company, on the standing basic order the place for the primary time we get information on crashes or any incident involving an AV automobile. It is setting us up for what will be a really productive dialog, a superb first effort at establishing guardrails.

Administrator Robin Hutcheson and I’ve been very clear: We all know that is going to be an iterative course of. We’ll want a number of guidelines, as a result of it is an evolving trade and sector. So I’m excited, within the sense that I believe we will have the correct amount of information to place forth a really stable rule.

When may we see such a rule? Someday this yr?

ADAMS: I’ll supply the identical reply I’ve for people within the trade. We’re working diligently and expeditiously on advancing the rule.

(From left to right) FMCSA head Robin Hutcheson, Executive Director Jack Van Steenburg, Chief Counsel Earl Adams Jr. and Director of External Affairs Kala Wright take questions at ATA MCE 2022.

Adams (third from left) gave the identical reply when requested about AV rulemaking on a panel on the American Trucking Associations’ 2022 Administration Convention & Exhibition.

Colin Campbell/Transport Dive


OK, onto one other matter: brokering fraud. Whereas not technically a security problem, it falls beneath FMCSA’s purview. How does the company hope to resolve the issue?

ADAMS: It is a matter that we’re very a lot conscious of. We’re involved about it. You’re proper that it doesn’t squarely match inside our security mandates field, however there are security hyperlinks to it. Something that impacts drivers, their mindset, their method — or carriers, how they’re coping with their drivers, or how they’re coping with one another — has downstream implications on security.

We’d like folks to be targeted on the job at hand, and so whether or not you are speaking about double-brokering, whether or not you are speaking about detention time, any of those financial issues, frankly, they undoubtedly can have an effect. In order that’s why we’re involved about it. We’ve had a number of conversations with OOIDA, ATA and TIA about this problem.

We’re making an attempt to look at what’s the finest method, whether or not it is rulemaking, whether or not it is utilizing current authority, to look at it extra carefully. We’re additionally working with our state companions, as a result of a whole lot of this stuff contain simply outright client fraud and client safety and contract violations beneath state legislation.

I might say that one is a ‘to be continued.’ This isn’t going to go away. So we’re making an attempt to take a look at all the items collectively and we’ll resolve what’s the finest method.

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