America Outdoors Association
America Outdoors Association

12/17/12

America Outdoors Association Bulletin

FMCSA Calls for Input on Insurance Filings for Motor Carrier Authorizations

Budget Sequestration Could Close Some National Parks and Reduce Access Across Public Lands

GOP Announces Members of the House Resources Committee; Democrats Have Yet to Announce Members

Transportation for Indirect Compensation is Not Subject to the Same Regulatory Requirements as Transportation for Direct Compensation

600 Outfitters, Vendors and Sponsors Make the AOA Conference One of the Best Ever

FMCSA Calls for Input on Insurance Filings for Motor Carrier Authorizations
 
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has requested public comment on the proof of insurance (Forms MCS 90/90B) and proof of surety (Forms MCS 82/82B) forms required from motor carriers.  These forms are intended to provide sufficient information for the agency to verify that a motor carrier of property or passengers is in compliance with regulatory requirements establishing minimum required levels of financial responsibility.
Under federal law, agencies are required to obtain Office of Management and Budget approval of certain requests to collect information from the public.  In connection with its request for re-approval of these forms, the FMCSA is seeking comments from the public on any aspect of the forms, including the following: 
1.  whether collection of the information is necessary for the FMCSA to perform its functions;
2.  whether the agency’s estimated burden to file the documents is accurate (the FMCSA estimates it takes two minutes to complete and submit MCS 90/90B);
3.  ways to enhance the quality, usefulness, and clarity of the collected information; and
4.  ways to minimize the burden without reducing the quality of the collected information.

Comments must be submitted on or before February 11, 2013, referencing Federal Document Management System (FDMS) Docket Number FMCSA 2012 0379.  Comments may be submitted at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FMCSA-2012-0379-0001, faxed to 202 493 2251, or mailed to: Docket Management Facility; U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 20590–0001.

Although AOA plans to comment, you are strongly encouraged to prepare and submit your own stories about any difficulties you have had filing these forms and documenting your insurance coverage, including your costs of compliance. The FMCSA’s regulation of seasonal businesses is out of kilter and creates a much greater burden than suggested by the notice. Outfitters who try to comply with the regulations often find themselves in a Catch 22.  Businesses carrying passengers across state lines for hire (i.e., for direct or indirect compensation) are required to obtain a Motor Carrier Authorization and submit proof of insurance, consistent with federal regulations, to receive operating authority.  If you are found by the FMCSA to be operating without required operating authority, you will be ordered out of service and subject to substantial civil penalties.  The current penalty for operating without required operating authority is $25,000.

For more information contact: dbrown@americaoutdoors.org   Share your experiences on the AOA forum. Click Here.

Transportation for Indirect Compensation is Not Subject to the Same Regulatory Requirements as Transportation for Direct Compensation

Determining which Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requirements apply to your operations can be very confusing and can cause significant problems if you don’t understand them correctly. The specific requirements that apply to your operations may depend, among other things, upon whether the interstate transportation services you provide are for “direct” or “indirect” (or “not for direct”) compensation. Direct compensation means that you charge and are paid directly for the transportation services you provide; indirect compensation, on the other hand, means that the transportation services you provide are paid for as part of a total package charge (e.g., you are providing and charging for a river trip or some other recreation service and providing transportation to the embarkation point and back as part of the overall trip cost).  Note that both direct and indirect compensation are considered “for hire,” and therefore may require that you obtain operating authority (an MC number) and maintain associated minimum levels of insurance coverage if you operate interstate.

Under the FMCSA’s regulations, as revised in 2010, carriers operating 9 to 15 passenger vans in interstate commerce for direct compensation are subject to many safety requirements that are not applicable to carriers operating 9 to 15 passenger vans for indirect compensation unless the vehicle has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or combination weight, or 10,001 pounds or more. Both categories of operators are required to file a motor carrier identification report, mark their commercial motor vehicles with the USDOT identification number, and maintain an accident register. In addition, carriers operating 9 to 15 passenger vans for direct compensation,(as well as carriers operating 9 to 15 passenger vans for indirect compensation if the vehicle is rated or weighing 10,001 pounds or more) also are subject to driver qualification and medical examination, hours-of-service, and maintenance requirements, as well as other safety standards set forth in part 385 and parts 390 through 396 of the FMCSA’s regulations.

The FMCSA Final Rule issued February 1, 2010 [Docket No. FMCSA-2009-0127] states:  “The FMCSA amends the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) to require that motor carriers operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), designed or used to transport between 9 and 15 passengers (including the driver), in interstate commerce for direct compensation comply with the safety regulations regardless of the distance traveled." (Emphasis added).  Further on, the rule states: This final rule does not make any other changes in the applicability of the FMCSRs to small-passenger-carrying vehicles. This means, for example, that operators of such vehicles for indirect compensation are not subject to the safety-related operational regulations in 49 CFR parts 390-399, and are only subject to the provisions specifically included in amended 49 CFR 390.3(f)(6).”

49 CFR 390.3(f)(6) states: “The operation of commercial motor vehicles designed or used to transport between 9 and 15 passengers (including the driver), not for direct compensation, provided the vehicle does not otherwise meet the definition of a commercial motor vehicle, except that motor carriers and drivers operating such vehicles are required to comply with §§ 390.15 [assistance in investigations and special studies], 390.19 [motor carrier, hazardous material shipper, and intermodal equipment provider identification reports / MC-150 reports], 390.21(a) and (b)(2) [marking of self-propelled commercial motor vehicles], 391.15(f) [disqualification of drivers for handheld mobile phone violations], 392.80 [prohibition against texting] and 392.82 [using a hand-held mobile telephone] of this chapter.”

To review FMCSA’s synopsis regarding small passenger-carrying vehicles distinguishing “For Compensation” (“Direct” and “Indirect” or “Not For Direct”), please visit the following link:
http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/bus/company/smallvanbackinfo.htm
Keywords: 9 to 15 passenger van regulations, FMSCA van regulations, “van regulations”
 

600 Outfitters, Vendors and Sponsors Make the AOA Conference One of the Best Ever

The AOA Marketing and Management Conference in Daytona Beach, December 4 – 6th, is best described by some of those who attended.

“Just a quick note to say thanks for the great conference you put together. We got educated, motivated and are thrilled to have meet so many wonderful people.  We appreciate your hard work and our industry is much better for it! See you in New Mexico next December if not sooner.”  Matt Moses, USA Raft.

“It was great to meet you in Daytona. Alison and I really enjoyed the convention and we are excited to network with other members. Thanks for setting up a group specific to coastal kayakers. We'll let other Alaska kayak companies know it is a great organization. PS: Thanks to a great mix of exhibitors, we are setting up to purchase an online reservations system!”  John - Sitka Sound Ocean Adventures.

“Again, another great job by you guys at Daytona!   I thought it was great fun and real success." Greg P. Henington, Far Flung Outdoor Center.
 
The 2012 Conference in Daytona was special in many ways.  The unification with PPA, the largest attendance at an eastern event in years, and a very diverse group of outfitters, aerial adventures, tour operators and adventure resorts generated cross pollination of ideas and interests.

Check out the photos on FacebookSpecial thanks to all our sponsors and exhibitors.

Plan now to attend our 2013 meeting in Albuquerque, NM December 10 – 12, 2013. 

Budget Sequestration Could Close Some National Parks and Reduce Access Across Public Lands

In a recent meeting with White House officials and business leaders, the Obama Administration made it clear that the National Park Service and other federal land managing agencies would not be exempt from budget cuts.  Except for some mandatory programs, most federal agencies are facing an 8.2% across the board budget cut.  The Coalition of National Park Service retirees predicted that sequestration would close some National Parks and thousands of seasonal employees would lose their jobs.  The Forest Service alone would lose $486 million or about 10% of its annual budget in FY 2013. 

In its December 7th report, the Congressional Budget Office wrote: “The federal budget deficit was $292 billion for the first two months of fiscal year 2013, $57 billion more than the
shortfall recorded in October and November of last year. . . ”  The fiscal year for the Federal budget began October 1st. 

GOP Announces Members of the House Resources Committee; Democrats Have Yet to Announce Members

The House Committee on Natural Resources oversees National Parks, Forests and Public Lands and issues such as fees, outfitter and guide permits, National Park authorizations, concessions and contracts and wilderness designations.  Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT) chairs the Subcommittee on Parks, Forests and Public Lands.  Other subcommittees include Water and Power; Fisheries, Wildlife and Insular Affairs; Energy and Mineral Resources; and Indian and Alaska Native Affairs. 

Ed Markey (D- MA) is the ranking Democrat on the Committee.  The Democrat leadership has not announced their committee members yet.  Republican members are as follow.

Members newly appointed to the Committee: (in alphabetical order)

Kevin Cramer (ND-at large)
Steve Daines (MT- at large)
Doug LaMalfa (CA-01)
Markwayne Mullin (OK-02)
Chris Stewart (UT-02)

Returning Members

Doc Hastings (WA-04)
Don Young (AK-at large)
Louie Gohmert (TX-01)
Rob Bishop (UT-01)
Doug Lamborn (CO-05)
Rob Wittman (VA-01)
Paul Broun (GA-10)
John Fleming (LA-04)
Tom McClintock (CA-04)
Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-05)
Dan Benishek (MI-01)
Jeff Duncan (SC-03)
Scott Tipton (CO-03)
Paul Gosar (AZ-01)
Raúl Labrador (ID-01)
Steve Southerland (FL-02)
Bill Flores (TX-17)
Andy Harris (MD-01)
Jon Runyan (NJ-03)
Mark Amodei (NV-02)
Cynthia Lummis (WY-at large)

 

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