New regs for Monday: musical instruments, pavement standards, HVAC testing

Monday’s edition of the Federal Register contains new rules from the Department of Transportation for flying with musical instruments, new performance standards from the Federal Highway Administration for state departments of transportation and new ways for manufacturers to test the performance of heating and cooling systems from the Energy Department.

Here’s a look at what is happening. 

Musical instruments: The Department of Transportation is issuing a final rule that will allow airline passengers to bring musical instruments on flights as carry-on or checked baggage.  

The rule will require all commercial airlines to allow passengers to carry on and stow small instruments — such a violin or guitar — in the cabin in a suitable baggage compartment, like an overhead bin or under the seat, in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration safety regulations.

“With the exception of certain disability assistance devices, overhead bins or under seat stowage space is available to all passengers and crew members for their carry-on baggage on a “first come, first served” basis,” DOT said in its rulemaking.  

Airlines will not be required to remove other passenger’s carry-on luggage to make space for a musical instrument or reversely ask a passenger to remove their musical instrument to make room for other passengers’ carry-on luggage even if the space could accommodate one or more carry-on items. 

The rule will take effect in 60 days. 

Transportation standards: The Federal Highway Administration is considering a rule that would require state departments of transportation receiving federal funds from the National Highway Performance Program to follow certain performance standards. 

The rule would set minimum levels for pavement conditions on interstate systems and force state DOTs to report progress in achieving certain pavement and bridge-related performance targets.

“Performance management increases the accountability and transparency of the federal aid highway program and provides for a framework to support improved investment decision making through a focus on performance outcomes for key national transportation goals,” FHWA said in its rulemaking. 

The public has 90 days to comment. 

HVAC performance: The Energy Department is issuing a final rule that will create an alternative method for determining the efficiency of commercial HVAC, refrigeration and water heating equipment. 

The final rule will allow manufacturers to use alternative efficiency determination method (AEDM) – computer modeling or mathematical tools – to predict performance of non-tested basic models. 

The rule will take effect in 30 days. 

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