By Dave Osiecki, Pres., Scopelitis Transportation Consulting & Regulatory Consultant to Trimble Transportation
Although Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) staff were not furloughed during the recent and prolonged partial government shutdown (due to a fairly unique agency funding stream), other parts of the US Department of Transportation (USDOT), along with other federal agencies that help review and process federal rulemaking proposals, were affected. Many policy-related staff in the Office of the Secretary of the USDOT were furloughed, and part of their responsibility is to review draft regulatory proposals from FMCSA and other USDOT agencies.
Similarly, ‘desk officers’ and management staff at the White House’s Office of Management and Budget were furloughed, and the bulk of their job is to review rule proposals from agencies across the federal government. In fact, there is only one OMB desk officer assigned to manage the regulatory workload from FMCSA, and that person also reviews regulatory actions from other USDOT agencies.
As a result of the USDOT and OMB staff furloughs, and the backlog these federal workers are now faced with, processing and publication of FMCSA’s hours of service (HOS) proposal is likely to be delayed past an anticipated late Winter/early Spring publication date.
As a reminder, FMCSA has teed up four HOS topics for potential change. They are:
- the split sleeper berth provision
- the required 30-minute rest break
- the adverse driving conditions exception
- the short-haul operations exception
When FMCSA’s proposed changes make it through the internal government review process and are published, keep in mind the industry and interested stakeholders will have an opportunity to read, think about, and comment on them. Typically, FMCSA provides a 60-day comment period on proposed changes that could have a significant impact on the industry. When the proposal is published, pay attention to the length of the comment period. If it’s less than 60 days (e.g., 30 or 45 days), this will be an indicator that FMCSA is working to accelerate the time it takes to publish final changes.
Interested in learning more about how to navigate the regulatory aspects of the ELD mandate? Contact us today to learn how we are here to help you and your drivers stay safe, efficient and compliant.