[Federal Register Volume 61, Number 234 (Wednesday, December 4, 1996)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 64295-64297]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 96-30835]



Federal Highway Administration

49 CFR Part 367
RIN 2125-AD92

Single State Insurance Registration; Receipt Rule

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.

ACTION: Final rule; continued suspension of effectiveness.


SUMMARY: This document continues the suspension of the effectiveness of 
the final rule concerning a receipt provision of Single State Insurance 
Registration which was published at 60 FR 30011 on June 7, 1995. The 
rule had directed the Base States to make copies of their issued 
receipts which indicate that a motor carrier has filed the required 
proof of insurance and has paid the required fees. Affected parties 
then requested the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) to suspend the 
effectiveness of the final rule and to reinstate the earlier rule 
allowing the motor carriers to make the copies instead of the Base 
States. This request was granted. This action continues the extension 
of the current temporary receipt rule which was reinstated at 60 FR 
39874 on August 4, 1995, until the DOT adopts a final rule implementing 
a new motor carrier registration system.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Effective December 4, 1996, Sec. 367.5, as revised at 
60 FR 30011, June 7, 1995, and suspended at 60 FR 39875, August 4, 
1995, is further suspended until January 1, 1998. Section 367.5, which 
was reinstated at 60 FR 39875, August 4, 1995, continues in effect 
December 4, 1996, through December 31, 1997.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Dixie E. Horton, Office of Motor 
Carrier Planning and Customer Liaison, (202) 366-4340, or Ms. Grace 
Reidy, Office of Chief Counsel, (202) 366-0761, Federal Highway 
Administration, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590. Office 
hours are from 7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Since the Motor Carrier Act of 1935, Pub. L. 
74- 255, 49 Stat. 543, Congress has permitted the States to police 
unauthorized operations by interstate for-hire motor carriers. In 1965, 
Congress allowed the States to enforce this activity through a multi-
filing system of operating authority registration, the so-called 
``bingo stamp'' program. See Pub. L. 89-170, 79 Stat. 648. This 
program, (formerly 49 U.S.C. 11506, now section 14504), was 
administered at 49 CFR part 1023. The Intermodal Surface Transportation 
Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA)( Pub. L. 102-240, 105 Stat. 1914) 
created the Single State Registration System (SSRS) to replace the 
``bingo stamp'' program. Section 4005 of the ISTEA significantly 
amended 49 U.S.C. 11506 in creating the SSRS. Under the SSRS, a 
carrier: (a) Files proof of insurance with a single ``registration''(or 
Base) State; (b) pays the Base State fees that are subject to 
allocation among all States in which the carrier operates and which 
participate in the system; and (c) keeps, in each of its commercial 
vehicles, a copy of the receipt issued by the Base State.
    The ISTEA directed the ICC to issue implementing rules under which 
the SSRS would operate. In a decision in Ex Parte No. MC-100 (Sub-No. 
6), Single State Insurance Registration, 9 I.C.C.2d 610 (1993), notice 
published at 58 FR 28932 on May 18, 1993, the ICC adopted final 
regulations that replaced the ``bingo stamp'' program regulations. 
These new SSRS regulations were challenged and upheld in court, with 
one exception concerning who makes the official copies of the Base 
State-issued receipt. Nat'l Ass'n of Regulatory Util. Comm'rs v. ICC, 
41 F.3d 721 (D.C. Cir. 1994). The court ruled that the States, rather 
than the motor carriers, should make the copies of the Base State-
issued receipt that must be kept in each vehicle. The court remanded 
this particular rule to the ICC for consideration. In a decision served 
June 6, 1995, notice published at 60 FR 30011 on June 7, 1995, the ICC 
adopted a revised final rule requiring the States to issue the official 
copies of the receipts, effective July 7, 1995.
    By a petition filed July 11, 1995, the National Conference of State 
Transportation Specialists (NCSTS)

[[Page 64296]]

requested that the ICC postpone the effectiveness of this revised 
receipt rule for one year. The American Trucking Associations (ATA) and 
the American Insurance Association filed letters supporting the 
petition. The NCSTS indicated that it was working with the motor 
carrier and insurance industries and the DOT to create a new insurance 
program. The ICC agreed to maintain the status quo while interested 
parties consider alternatives to the SSRS, suspended the effectiveness 
of the revised final rule, and reinstated the receipt rule that 
previously was in effect. Ex Parte No. MC-100 (Sub-No. 6), Single State 
Insurance Registration, served July 31, 1995, and notice published at 
60 FR 39874 on August 4, 1995. The reinstated, temporary receipt rule 
is found at 49 CFR 367.5 and would have remained in effect until 
December 31, 1996. Carriers continue to make the copies of the Base 
State-issued receipt to be kept in each vehicle.
    Subsequent to this ICC action, Congress passed the ICC Termination 
Act of 1995 (ICCTA) Pub. L. 104-88, 109 Stat. 803, 888, which 
eliminated the ICC and transferred the SSRS, in 49 U.S.C. 14504, to the 
DOT, under standards maintained by the Secretary of Transportation. 
Congress did not specify in the ICCTA who should make the copies of the 
receipts; rather, it reiterated that a copy must be retained in each of 
a carrier's commercial vehicles. Section 204 of the ICCTA preserves the 
existing ICC SSRS rules at 49 CFR part 367 until the Secretary modifies 
them, if necessary. In a Federal Register notice (61 FR 14372, April 1, 
1996), the FHWA stated, generally, that all of the ICC's existing rules 
and regulations are to remain in effect until further action is taken. 
The particular SSRS regulations now in effect in 49 CFR part 367 fall 
under that notice and will remain in effect until further action is 
taken. The FHWA anticipates that these rules will govern the operations 
of the SSRS until further notice.
    Section 13908 of title 49, U.S.C., under section 103 of the ICCTA 
directs the Secretary, in a rulemaking to be completed by December 31, 
1997, to replace four existing motor carrier registration/information 
systems with a single replacement system. One of the four systems to be 
replaced is the SSRS, provided certain conditions are met. Therefore, 
it is possible that the current SSRS will be altered or eliminated in 
that rulemaking. The FHWA issued an advance notice of proposed 
rulemaking (ANPRM) seeking comments from the States, representatives of 
the motor carrier and insurance industries, and the public on the 
single, replacement system (61 FR 43816, August 26, 1996). Interested 
parties may file comments on alternatives to the SSRS in relation to 
that ANPRM.
    On April 22, 1996, the ATA filed a request with the FHWA that the 
former ICC order, suspending the effectiveness of its June 6, 1995 
decision and reinstating the earlier rule, be extended until the 
Secretary has issued new regulations in the section 13908 rulemaking, 
which may potentially replace the SSRS in its entirety. The ATA argues 
that without the extension motor carriers and States would otherwise 
have to develop expensive and cumbersome systems that may be in effect 
for only one year. It asserts that the States will not be harmed by the 
extension of the suspension which will continue the current, smooth 
operations of SSRS. On April 26, 1996, the North Dakota Department of 
Transportation wrote in support of the ATA's request. On May 8, 1996, 
the NCSTS also wrote in support of the extension of the suspension of 
the ICC's July 7, 1995, receipt rule. The NCSTS states that it is not 
worthwhile to make significant changes in the SSRS program that may 
last only for one or two registration years. These requests seek to 
continue the reinstated, temporary rule allowing motor carriers to make 
the copies of the Base State-issued receipts, instead of the States, 
until the future of the SSRS program is resolved.
    Given the likely transitory nature of the SSRS, the support of the 
major parties affected by the rule, and the lack of specific 
congressional direction to the contrary, the FHWA has decided to 
continue the suspension of the effectiveness of the revised final rule 
and keep in effect the reinstated, temporary receipt rule at 49 CFR 
367.5, Registration Receipts. This suspension of effectiveness will 
continue until the future of SSRS is resolved in the pending 
rulemaking, which has a December 31, 1997, deadline for completion. The 
petitioning parties have submitted adequate justification for their 
requests. Because it is unclear whether the SSRS will continue in 
existence beyond the next year, preserving the status quo will prevent 
unnecessary disruptions in the day-to-day operations of the SSRS. The 
interested parties will have ample opportunity to comment on the future 
of the SSRS in the section 13908 rulemaking. This action will also 
alert the SSRS States so that they will avoid incurring substantial, 
unnecessary copying expenses for the next registration year. While 
there is no evidence of any pattern of abuse, the SSRS rules do provide 
for penalties if violations of the rules should occur, 49 CFR 367.7.

Regulatory Analyses and Notices

    The FHWA finds that prior notice and opportunity for comment are 
unnecessary and contrary to the public interest under 5 U.S.C. 553 
(b)(3)(B) because the issue of who should make the copies of Base 
State-issued SSRS receipts has already been the subject of a notice-
and-comment rulemaking in a May 11, 1992, advance notice of proposed 
rulemaking (57 FR 20072), a January 25, 1993, notice of proposed 
rulemaking (58 FR 5951), a May 18, 1993, notice of final rulemaking (58 
FR 28932), and a June 7, 1995, notice of revised final rulemaking (60 
FR 30011). In addition, this final rule simply extends the effective 
date of the existing temporary rule in order to ensure the smooth 
operation of the SSRS for the next year, after which it may not even be 
in existence, and prevents SSRS States from incurring substantial, 
unnecessary copying and transition-related expenses. Finally, the FHWA 
believes that further notice and opportunity for comment are not 
required under the regulatory policies and procedures of the DOT. In 
light of the earlier opportunities to comment on this subject, the FHWA 
does not anticipate that providing an additional comment period on this 
action would result in the receipt of useful information.
    The FHWA also believes that good cause exists to dispense with the 
30-day delayed effective date requirement of 5 U.S.C. 553(d) due to the 
nature of this rulemaking. This final rule preserves the status quo 
until the 13908 rulemaking is completed and the future of the SSRS is 
determined. Continuing the effectiveness of the reinstated, temporary 
rule also relieves the motor carrier industry of the requirement and 
expense of converting to a new and more burdensome process for copying 
receipts for only a brief period.

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

    The FHWA has determined that this action is neither a significant 
regulatory action under Executive Order 12866 nor significant under the 
Department of Transportation's regulatory policies and procedures. In 
this action, the FHWA continues the suspension of the effectiveness of 
a final rule, and thereby, continues the effectiveness of the 
reinstated, temporary rule now in place for nearly one year. It is 
anticipated that the economic impact of this action will not be 
substantial because the status

[[Page 64297]]

quo is extended until the future of the SSRS is made clearer in the 49 
U.S.C. 13908 rulemaking to be completed by December 31, 1997. The FHWA 
is not altering an existing regulation in such a way as to either 
impose or eliminate any economic burden.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    In compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (Pub. L. 96-354, 
5 U.S.C. 601-612), the FHWA has evaluated the effects of this action on 
small entities. Based on the evaluation, the FHWA hereby certifies that 
this action will not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities. As noted above, the FHWA is 
merely extending the effective date of a reinstated, temporary rule 
already in effect and is not altering the existing regulation in such a 
way as to either impose or eliminate any economic burden.

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 action does not have sufficient federalism implications to 
warrant the preparation of a federalism assessment.

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 purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 
U.S.C. 3501 et seq.

National Environmental Policy Act

    The agency has analyzed this action for the purpose of the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and has 
determined that this action would not have any effect on the quality of 
the environment.

Regulatory 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 number 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 367

    Commercial motor vehicle, Financial responsibility, Insurance, 
Motor carriers, Motor vehicle safety, Registration, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements.

    Issued on: November 25, 1996.
Rodney E. Slater,
Federal Highway Administrator.
[FR Doc. 96-30835 Filed 12-3-96; 8:45 am]