FMCSA's hours-of-service proposal misses June 7 target date

By Mark Schremmer, Land Line associate editor | 6/7/2019

A notice of proposed rulemaking regarding truck drivers’ hours-of-service regulations remains under review at the Office of Management and Budget, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration confirmed on Friday, June 7.

“FMCSA’s proposed rule on changes to hours-of-service regulations continues to be reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget,” a spokesman for FMCSA told Land Line. “The timelines in the department’s regulatory updates serves as goals for the agency and are reflective of FMCSA’s plan to move quickly during this rulemaking process. The agency is hopeful the rule will be published soon.”

OMB allows up to 90 days for review of proposed rules. FMCSA was hopeful for the HOS proposal to clear sooner than that. Additionally, OMB allows for one 30-day extension, but that is still no assurance the rule will clear. A proposed speedlimiter rulemaking was under review at OMB for more than a year before being killed.

In addition, FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez told Transport Topics that the agency is hoping to publish the proposed rule sometime this month. The agency had originally targeted June 7 as the release date. OMB currently lists the proposed rule as “pending review.”

U.S. Department Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced during the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., that a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding hours of service had been sent to OMB for review on March 28.

During Chao’s speech at the truck show, she didn’t provide specific details of the proposal but did promise that the agency had listened to truck drivers’ requests for more flexibility within the rules.

In August, FMCSA issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking regarding possible changes to the hours of service. The agency hosted five public listening sessions, and a common response from OOIDA and truck drivers was that there needed to be more flexibility within the rules.

The FMCSA received about 5,200 comments on the possible rulemaking.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association helped spur the discussion on hours-of-service reform as it submitted a petition to FMCSA in February. The petition asked for regulations to allow drivers to take a rest break once per 14-hour duty period for three consecutive hours if the driver is off-duty. OOIDA also asked for the agency to eliminate the 30-minute rest break requirement.




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