UPDATE: FMCSA on track to meet HOS deadline

By Jami Jones, senior editor | 7/9/2010

The first stage in the paperwork shuffle toward a new set of hours-of-service regulations kicked off in late June when FMCSA sent a draft of a notice of proposed rulemaking to the Office of the Secretary of Transportation for approval.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration submitted a draft of the proposed HOS regs to the OST on June 23 – one day before the agency’s original target date.

The agency is under obligation to submit the notice of proposed rulemaking to the Office of Management and Budget by July 26. That will be the first opportunity for the public to get any sort of hint as to what the agency is doing with the HOS regs. However, the OMB notice typically contains only an abstract and is short on details.

The OMB deadline was part of a settlement agreement between FMCSA and Public Citizen, which was signed on Oct. 26, 2009.

Once OMB signs off on the regulation, it will then be published in the Federal Register. FMCSA’s game plan is to publish the NPRM on Nov. 4. That will be the first time that the public will get full disclosure of the agency’s plans on what – if any – changes will be made to the current HOS regulations.

The settlement agreement allows for FMCSA and Public Citizen to file a joint motion 30 days after the NPRM is published in the Federal Register to determine what path the lawsuit will follow.

The settlement also contained a provision that FMCSA agreed to publish a final rulemaking on HOS within 21 months of signing. That means the final rule would be published in July 2011.

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