News
2015 Grassroots Guide
How to comment on proposed regulations

By Jami Jones, managing editor

From time to time, federal agencies accept comments from the general public on proposed regulations, petitions for exemptions from regulations, etc.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration collects comments on its docket at regulations.gov, and the process for submitting comments is actually pretty simple.

Before you start through the electronic process on the Internet, be sure you have the correct Docket ID. This is how the docket management system knows what you are specifically addressing in your comments.

The Docket ID identifies a regulatory action the agency is putting in the record for public view and possible comment. It contains a series of letters and numbers separated by dashes; for example, FMCSA-2014-0388 is a docket related to a driver training survey. The dashes are critical when looking up a particular rulemaking. When you’re searching for a specific document to comment on, if you use the dashes incorrectly, or not at all, you won’t find the document you’re looking for.

The following steps will walk you through finding the docket that is open for comments and into the comment process.

Go to Regulations.gov

  • Fill in the “Search” field with the Docket ID and either hit enter or click on “Search.”
  • On the search results page, you will see the title of the docket you want to comment on and there will be a comment icon below it. Click on the icon.
  • The comment page will load, and all you need to do is scroll down until you see the form for you to fill in and submit your comments to the agency.
  • You only have to fill out the field with the red asterisk beside it. All other fields are optional – so you can file comments anonymously if you want to.
  • Once you have filled out all fields with the personal information, if you choose to provide it, and have typed your comments in the “General Comments” box, you simply scroll down and hit the “Next step” button.
  • You will then be able to scroll down, preview your comments and either click on the “Cancel/Exit,” “Edit,” “Print” or “Submit” button.

Of course, submitting comments electronically via the Internet isn’t your only option. You can still:

  • Fax comments with the Docket ID number, not the Document ID, to 202-493-2251;
  • Mail comments with the Docket ID number, not the Document ID, to:
  • Docket Management Facility
    U.S. Department of Transportation
    Room W-12-140, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE
    Washington, DC 20590-0001
  • Or hand deliver comments between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday except on federal holidays to the ground floor of the U.S. Department of Transportation building, Room W-12-140, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, Washington, D.C.
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