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Overdrive Staff | June 02, 2011
The trucking industry will have to wait longer for possible changes to the driver hours of service rule proposed by FMCSA.

Hours comment deadline extended


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration extended the comment period to June 9 for its proposed hours of service rule and as a result will be unable to meet a court-negotiated deadline of July 26 to issue a final rule. The agency didn’t estimate a new date for a final rule.

With the extension, FMCSA made public four additional documents. The agency reopened the comment period to allow for review and discussion of the documents and FMCSA’s possible consideration of the findings in achieving a final rule.

The agency said only comments related to the four additional documents will be considered during the extension. The four studies include research on fatigue and commercial driver performance.

FMCSA also said it had to adjust the rulemaking schedule previously agreed to in litigation before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (Case No. 09-1094). Under an Oct. 26, 2009, agreement among Public Citizen, other petitioners and FMCSA, the agency was to publish a final rule within 21 months of the date of the settlement agreement.

FMCSA said the extra comment period for the four additional documents will require additional time that was not envisioned in 2009 and that it will be unable to publish a final rule by the previously agreed-upon date of July 26.

To comment on the four additional documents, go to www.regulations.gov; the docket number is FMCSA-2004-19608.

— Staff reports



Lawmakers protest cross-border plan

At least 35 federal lawmakers have signed a draft of a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood protesting the DOT proposal for a cross-border trucking program with Mexico.

Written by Congressmen Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.), the draft was signed by 35 to 40 congressional members, said Hunter spokesman Joe Kasper.

The plan is “bad for American truckers and the entire commercial trucking industry,” Hunter wrote.

“The proposal is an undue burden on taxpayers, including buying and monitoring electronic on-board recorders the department will require for Mexican trucks involved in the program,” he wrote. “The cross-border trucking program is a straight handout to Mexico at the expense of American jobs, taxpayer dollars and security,” he stated.

The agency has said it is funding EOBRs to ensure it will own and control data gathered by the devices. Over a three-year period, the department estimated this program will cost $2.5 million, which includes $750,000 during the first full year of the program.

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