Final HOS rule expected in October; legal wrangling continues

By Jami Jones, senior editor | Friday, May 27, 2011

There won’t be a new final hours-of-service regulation until late October according to a May 20 court filing by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The HOS rulemaking stems from a lawsuit filed by Public Citizen against FMCSA. The lawsuit, which commenced in late 2009, has been in abeyance since a deal was struck in mid-2010 that the agency would retool the rule and have a new final regulation by July. As part of the agreement, FMCSA was to file status reports with the court every 60 days.

The “Second Status Report” filed by the agency updated the court on the agency’s deviation from the initial agreement to have a final rule by July.

In April 2011, two new studies were released “that may be relevant” to the ongoing HOS rulemaking, the filing states. That also meant an additional comment period.

“In light of the reopening of the comment period, FMCSA will be unable to publish a final rule by July 26, 2011, as it agreed to do,” the filing states. “FMCSA now intends to publish a final rule on or before Oct. 28, 2011.”

The agency also noted that it ran the revamped timeline by the petitioners in the case, and that “counsel for the petitioners has stated that petitioners do not object to this schedule.”

At least one intervenor on the side of Public Citizen apparently isn’t too happy with the agreement.

In a May 25 motion to proceed filed by intervenor William B. Trescott, who is representing himself in the case, he asserts that the agency “did not seek or obtain consent of the intervenors.”

No date for oral argument has been set on Trescott’s motion.

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