New hours proposal timeline set

Jill Dunn | November 19, 2010

The White House Office of Management and Budget is expected to release a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on hours of service by Nov. 26, according to a U.S. Department of Transportation report. 

The DOT has set Dec. 4 as the NPRM publication date and plans to accept comment on it until Feb. 4.

Last fall, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration entered into a settlement agreement to revisit the current rule, issued in 2008, and publish a final rule by July 26,
2011.

The FMCSA submitted the NPRM to the OMB July 26 and had expected the office to clear it Oct. 26. Last month, the reviewers extended study of the proposal.

The OMB met Oct. 18 with representatives from the National Retail Federation, National Industrial Transportation League, Waterfront Coalition, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Retail Industry Leaders Association, American Bakers Association and National Association of Manufacturers. Federal officials did not provide additional meeting
information.

On Nov. 10, the National Shippers Strategic Transportation Council called for the agency to expedite publication of the NPRM. This would mitigate uncertainty and allow sufficient public comment and debate, it said. 

The FMCSA entered the agreement after Public Citizen, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Truck Safety Coalition and the Teamsters union brought suit in the U.S.
Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. This court had previously struck down the agency’s 2003 and 2005 versions of HOS.

The 2009 agreement stipulates if the FMCSA produces a new HOS rule, “substantially different” from the 2008 rule, this may eliminate the need for judicial review of the current regulation.