New regs for Thursday: Flight simulators, truck drivers, sea turtles

Thursday's edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for flight simulation training devices for pilots, hours of service rules for truck drivers, new bumper requirements for trucks, and new protections for sea turtles.

Here's what is happening:

Flight simulators: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is considering new flight simulation training devices to make sure pilots are better prepared to fly through difficult situations, the agency announced Wednesday.

The proposed standards would require the flight simulation devices to train pilots to handle full stalls, stick pusher maneuvers, recovery maneuvers, maneuvers conducted during airborne icing conditions, takeoff and landing maneuvers with heavy crosswinds, and bounced landing recovery maneuvers.

"The proposed changes would ensure that the training and testing environment is accurate and realistic," the FAA wrote.

The public has 90 days to comment.

Trucks: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is waiving the requirement that truck drivers print and sign paper copies of their hours-of-service records at the end of each work day.

The FMCSA issued new guidance Wednesday that paves the way for truck drivers to sign these records electronically through software programs on their laptop computers, tablets, and smartphones.

Truck drivers will still be required to display the electronic records to authorities at roadside inspection stations, the agency said.

The new rules go into effect immediately.

Bumpers: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) might raise the safety standards for the back bumpers on trucks that are designed to absorb the impact of a collision.

The NHTSA announced Wednesday it is considering new rules that would raise that standards for rear impact (underride) guards on trucks, following a petition from the Truck Safety Coalition.

The NHTSA plans to propose these rules later this year. But they would not apply to the front or side bumpers on trucks, the agency said.

Exports: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is moving forward with new rules for exporting and importing nuclear materials, the agency announced Wednesday.

The new rules will align U.S. export controls with international standards for nuclear materials.

The rules go into effect in 30 days.

Turtles: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service are moving to protect loggerhead sea turtles, the agencies announced Wednesday.

The agencies are dedicating a critical habitat of 200,000 square miles in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, about 685 miles of beaches, to protect these sea turtles from extinction. 

The rule goes into effect in 30 days.