Press Release

FMCSA Renews Warning Flag Waiver for Auto Transporters Following ATA’s Advocacy

Feb 21, 2024

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration today announced a six-month provisional extension of a warning flag waiver for stinger-steered automobile transporters, which is expected to be extended for five years at the end of the provisional period.  The waiver renewal was championed by the American Trucking Associations’ Automobile Carriers Conference.
FMCSA’s waiver, which was first issued in February 2019, exempts stinger-steered automobile transporters from being required to affix “warning flags” to vehicles that overhang trailers.  In issuing its initial determination, FMCSA correctly noted that this regulatory relief would “…provide a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety achieved without the exemption.”  
“A special thanks to the entire team at FMCSA for working with us on this, and to dedicated members of the industry like Justin Copeland with United Road who helped educate, advocate, and move this process ahead,” said Mike Matousek, the director of ATA’s Automobile Carriers Conference.  “Nothing is guaranteed in D.C., even commonsense regulatory relief.  This is another example of ATA working with its members, industry peers, and government partners to find a solution to a problem.  Now our focus turns to ensuring the waiver is renewed for a full five years, with a goal of finding a permanent fix to eliminate the need for a waiver.”

“We appreciate FMCSA taking this commonsense step that is backed by nearly five years of real-world safety data,” said Mark Anderson, chair of ACC and president and CEO of United Road.  “Warning flags and similar devices can cause damage to the motor vehicles being transported, and they are unnecessary because these vehicles already have built-in reflective devices.  This waiver is a win-win that supports our supply chain without compromising safety.  We will continue our efforts to make this policy permanent.”
FMCSA’s waiver extension includes an important clarification for which ACC advocated.  Due to language in the original waiver that was considered ambiguous, some organizations interpreted it as only applying to the transport of new vehicles.  The updated waiver specifies that both new and used vehicles are covered.
The six-month provisional period is part of a newly implemented FMCSA policy that gives the public the opportunity to comment on a renewal instead of just the original waiver.  Absent anything unforeseen, FMCSA will finalize the renewal for five years at the end of the provisional period.  
Moving forward, ACC will work with FMCSA to address a similar waiver request regarding redundant lamps and reflective devices.