WASHINGTON — Each month, the Department of Transportation publishes a “Report on DOT Significant Rulemakings.”
The report lists every rulemaking in process for each of the department’s agencies and the office of the secretary along with target dates for each step of the rulemaking process.
Based on history, target dates are unmet more frequently than met, maybe even much more frequently, many times because the rulemakings get bogged down when they are under review at the Office of Management and Budget, nee the White House.
On the June report, there are 91 rulemakings listed, including Hours of Service for Drivers.
The rulemaking for HOS began August 23, 2018, as an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which in essence was the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration asking stakeholders to comment on any changes that should be made in the current rule, which — other than a few alterations — had been in place since early 2012.
The next step in the rulemaking process is the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which will outline changes the FMCSA will propose. A comment period on the proposed changes will follow.
The final rule follows the NPRM. In the case of past HOS rules, that will be at least one year after the NPRM is issued with the changes being implemented several weeks later.
The FMCSA first said the publication date for the NPRM on HOS would be May 8.
That was changed to June 7.
Now, the June report says Wednesday, July 31 is the target date.
So, when the industry, which has been begging for more flexibility in HOS, will see the NPRM is anybody’s guess.
Same holds true for the safety advocates, who are equating flexibility with more fatalities.
One thing is for sure, when it is published, the content will set off a gnashing of teeth on one side or the other, maybe even both.
Sit tight for an exciting final few months of 2019.
Lyndon Finney’s publishing career spans over 55 years beginning with a reporter position with the Southwest Times Record in Fort Smith, Arkansas, in 1965. Since then he’s been a newspaper editor at the Southwest Times Record, served five years as assistant managing editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock and from November 2004 through December 2019 served as editor of The Trucker. Between newspaper jobs he spent 14 years as director of communications at Baptist Health, Arkansas’ largest healthcare system. In addition to his publishing career he served for 46 years as organist at Little Rock’s largest Baptist church.