[Federal Register Volume 61, Number 202 (Thursday, October 17, 1996)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 54142-54144]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 96-26670]



Federal Highway Administration

49 CFR Part 393

[FHWA Docket No. MC-96-41]
RIN 2125-AE05

Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Development 
of a North American Standard for Protection Against Shifting or Falling 

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.

ACTION: Advance notice of proposed rulemaking; request for comments.


SUMMARY: The FHWA is considering proposing amendments to its 
regulations concerning cargo securement requirements for commercial 
motor vehicles engaged in interstate commerce. The FHWA intends to 
consider adopting new cargo securement guidelines that will be based 
upon the results of a multi-year comprehensive research program to 
evaluate current regulations and industry practices. The FHWA is also 
requesting comments on the process to be used in developing these 
preliminary cargo securement guidelines. The FHWA is currently working 
on this research program with the Canadian Council of Motor Transport 
Administrators (CCMTA), State and Provincial agencies responsible for 
motor carrier safety activities, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance 
(CVSA), and U.S. and Canadian industry groups. This research program is 
scheduled for completion by the end of 1996 with the final report to be 
published shortly thereafter.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before December 16, 1996.

ADDRESSES: Submit written, signed comments to FHWA Docket No. MC- 96-
41, Room 4232, HCC-10, Office of the Chief Counsel, Federal Highway 
Administration, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, D.C. 20590. All 
comments received will be available for examination at the above 
address from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays. Those desiring notification of receipt of

[[Page 54143]]

comments must include a self-addressed, stamped postcard.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Larry W. Minor, Office of Motor 
Carrier Research and Standards, HCS-10, (202) 366-4009; or Mr. Charles 
E. Medalen, Office of the Chief Counsel, HCC-20, (202) 366-1354, 
Federal Highway Administration, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, 
D.C. 20590. Office hours are from 7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., e.t., Monday 
through Friday, except Federal holidays.



    On July 27, 1993, the House of Representatives held a hearing 
concerning the adequacy of Federal regulations on cargo securement as 
well as the enforcement of those regulations (Truck Cargo Securement 
Regulations and Enforcement, 1993: Hearing Before the Subcommittee on 
Investigations and Oversight of the House of Representatives' Committee 
on Public Works and Transportation, 103rd Cong., 1st Sess. 32 (1993)). 
A copy of the July 1993 proceeding is included in the docket file. The 
hearing was prompted by several cargo securement accidents that 
occurred in New York between 1990 and 1993. During the hearing, the 
Federal Highway Administrator (the Administrator) indicated that the 
Ontario Ministry of Transportation had requested that the FHWA review a 
proposal prepared on behalf of the CCMTA--a non-profit association of 
senior officials from Federal, Provincial, and Territorial departments 
and agencies responsible for the administration, regulation and control 
of motor vehicle transportation and highway safety--for a research 
program to evaluate cargo securement regulations and industry 
practices. The Administrator informed the subcommittee that the FHWA 
would participate in the research effort and consider incorporating the 
results of the research into the Federal Motor Carrier Safety 
Regulations (FMCSRs).
    A cargo securement research working group was organized by the 
CCMTA and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation to discuss the 
research methodology with industry groups and Federal, State, and 
Provincial governments in the United States and Canada. The working 
group, which included representatives from the FHWA, Transport Canada 
(the Federal department responsible for developing and enforcing the 
regulatory aspects of motor vehicle and motor carrier safety), the 
CCMTA, the CVSA, several States and Provinces, and U.S. and Canadian 
industry, held its first meeting August 16-17, 1993, at the Downsview, 
Ontario offices of the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. A copy of 
the minutes from the meeting, including a list of attendees, is in the 
docket file. A report identifying the cargo securement issues to be 
examined through the research program and describing the research 
methodology to be used was published by the Ontario Ministry of 
Transportation in November of 1993. A copy of the report entitled ``A 
Proposal for Research to Provide a Technical Basis for a Revised 
National Standard on Load Security for Heavy Trucks'' is included in 
the docket file.

Research Reports

    The research program involves the testing of trailer anchor points 
(i.e., stake pockets, D-rings, tensioning ratchets, etc.), the effect 
of binder type, chain size, and chain length on the tension of the 
tiedown assembly, equalization of tension in the spans of chain and 
webbing tiedowns, lateral and longitudinal movement of the cargo on 
tiedown tension, and blocking and bracing, friction between the load 
and the vehicle, or between individual articles being transported 
(e.g., concrete pipe, lumber products, etc.). The research program is 
also examining securement practices for transporting steel coils and 
intermodal cargo containers.
    With the exception of the testing of the securement systems for 
steel coils, all of the laboratory work is scheduled for completion by 
September 1996. The tests involving steel coils are scheduled for 
completion by the end of 1996. Individual research reports will be 
issued covering each of the testing modules. The FHWA will publish 
notices in the Federal Register to announce the availability of the 
research reports. A comprehensive report covering each of the testing 
modules, and presenting conclusions and recommendations on cargo 
securement practices is expected to be published in June of 1997.

Standard Development Process

    The preliminary efforts at developing the North American Cargo 
Securement Standard are currently being managed by a drafting group. 
The drafting group is developing the outline for the guidelines with 
most of the detailed performance criteria to be added as the research 
reports are completed. Membership in the drafting group includes 
representatives from the FHWA, Transport Canada, CCMTA, the Ontario 
Ministry of Transportation, Quebec Ministry of Transportation--Ontario 
and Quebec are conducting most of the research--and the CVSA. The CVSA 
is included in the drafting group because it is an organization of 
Federal, State, and Provincial government agencies and representatives 
from private industry in the United States, Canada, and Mexico 
dedicated to improvement of commercial vehicle safety. The membership 
of the drafting group is limited because it is impractical to draft a 
technical document with a larger number of participants.
    As envisioned thus far, the process to be used for further 
developing this outline for the guidelines would involve a 
harmonization group which would review major portions of this outline 
as it is completed by the drafting group. Membership in the 
harmonization group would be open to all interested parties in the 
U.S., Canada, and Mexico. This process would be intended to ensure that 
all interested parties had an opportunity to participate in the 
development of the guidelines, and to identify and consider the 
concerns of the Federal, State, and Provincial governments, carriers, 
shippers, industry groups, and associations as well as safety advocacy 
groups and the general public. The harmonization group would hold 
public meetings at locations in the United States and Canada, during 
which drafts of the North American Cargo Securement Standard would be 
presented for review and comment. Representatives of the CCMTA and the 
CVSA would serve as co-chairpersons for the harmonization group and 
would organize the public meetings. The FHWA would announce the dates 
of these meetings in the Federal Register and maintain copies of the 
proceedings in this docket file. For individuals and groups unable to 
attend the meetings, the FHWA would, to the extent practicable, publish 
each version of the draft standard in the Federal Register. Further, 
the FHWA and/or CCMTA would post information on the INTERNET. 
Individuals and organizations with INTERNET electronic mail addresses 
would also be provided with the opportunity to have their names added 
to an electronic mailing list to receive information on the development 
of the standard.
    After all interested parties had had the opportunity to comment, 
and their concerns had been considered, the final version of the North 
American Cargo Securement Standard would be published, and Federal, 
State, and Provincial governments throughout North America would be 
encouraged to adopt it. The FHWA intends, at that point, to propose in 
an NPRM that the existing cargo securement regulations

[[Page 54144]]

found at 49 CFR 393.100 through 393.106 be amended to adopt the 

Request for Comments

    The FHWA is not offering for comment at this time any proposed 
language for the North American Cargo Securement Standard or amendments 
to the FMCSRs. The Agency is, however, soliciting comments on its 
decision to consider a rulemaking to overhaul its cargo securement 
regulations based upon the research program described and other 
published cargo-securement related research, such as Southern Illinois 
University's March 1995 report entitled ``Analysis of Rules and 
Regulations for Steel Coil Truck Transport.'' (A copy of this report is 
included in the docket file.) The FHWA anticipates that a notice of 
proposed rulemaking will be issued by the end of 1997 and, depending on 
the comments received, a final rule issued in 1998. The FHWA is also 
requesting comments on the process that would be used to develop the 
North American Cargo Securement Standard. Following a review of the 
docket comments sent in response to this notice, the FHWA will publish 
a notice that summarizes the comments and identifies any issues that 
warrant reconsideration of the standard development process.

Rulemaking Analyses and Notices

    All comments received before the close of business on the comment 
closing date indicated above will be considered and will be available 
for examination in the docket room at the above address. Comments 
received after the comment closing date will be filed in the docket and 
will be considered to the extent practicable. In addition to late 
comments, the FHWA will also continue to file in the docket relevant 
information that becomes available after the comment closing date, and 
interested persons should continue to examine the docket for new 

Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) and DOT 
Regulatory Policies and Procedures

    The FHWA has determined that this action is not a significant 
regulatory action within the meaning of Executive Order 12866. The FHWA 
has preliminarily determined that this rulemaking is a significant 
rulemaking action under the Department of Transportation's regulatory 
policies and procedures. The regulatory action being considered is not 
expected to have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or 
more nor is it likely to adversely affect the economy in a material 
way. Due to the preliminary nature of this document and a lack of 
necessary information on costs, however, the FHWA is unable to evaluate 
fully the economic impact of the potential regulatory changes being 
considered in this rulemaking. Based upon the information received in 
response to this advance notice of proposed rulemaking, the FHWA 
intends to carefully consider the potential costs and benefits 
associated with establishing new cargo securement requirements. 
Comments, information, and data are solicited on the economic impact of 
establishing new requirements.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    Due to the preliminary nature of this document and lack of 
necessary information on costs, the FHWA is unable to evaluate fully 
the effects of the potential regulatory changes on small entities. 
Based upon the information received in response to this advance notice 
of proposed rulemaking, the FHWA intends, in compliance with the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), to carefully consider 
the economic impacts of these potential changes on small entities. The 
FHWA solicits comments, information, and data on these impacts.

Executive Order 12612 (Federalism Assessment)

    This action has been analyzed in accordance with the principles and 
criteria contained in Executive Order 12612, and it has been determined 
that this rulemaking does not have sufficient Federalism implications 
to warrant the preparation of a Federalism assessment. This document 
merely solicits comments on the FHWA's consideration of proposing to 
replace the existing cargo securement regulations with the North 
American Standard currently under development. No additional costs or 
burdens will be imposed on the States as a result of this notice and 
the States' ability to discharge traditional State government functions 
will not be affected.

Executive Order 12372 (Intergovernmental Review)

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Number 20.217, Motor 
Carrier Safety. The regulations implementing Executive Order 12372 
regarding intergovernmental consultation on Federal programs and 
activities do not apply to this program.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This action does not contain a collection of information 
requirement for the purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 
U.S.C. 3501-3520.

National Environmental Policy Act

    The agency has analyzed this rulemaking for the purpose of the 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321-4347) and has 
determined that publication of this notice will not result in any 
effect on the quality of the environment.

Regulation Identification Number

    A regulation identification number (RIN) is assigned to each 
regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations. 
The Regulatory Information Service Center publishes the Unified Agenda 
in April and October of each year. The RIN contained in the heading of 
this document can be used to cross reference this action with the 
Unified Agenda.

List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 393

Highway safety, Motor carriers, Motor vehicle safety.

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 31136, 31502; 49 CFR 1.48.

    Issued on: October 8, 1996.
Rodney E. Slater,
Federal Highway Administrator.
[FR Doc. 96-26670 Filed 10-16-96; 8:45 am]