The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the January 24th Federal Register to address changing hours-of-service (HOS) regulations for drivers of commercial vehicles that do not transport passengers.
The NPRM came in response to a July 2004 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that vacated the revised HOS rules for truckers, which were issued in 2003. However, these rules currently remain in effect.
FMCSA stated that it is “reconsidering the 2003 regulations to determine what changes may be necessary to be consistent with the holdings and dicta [judge's comments] of the Public Citizen [Public Citizen et al v. FMCSA, 374 F.3d 120] decision.”
According to FMCSA, it issued the notice “concurrently with its ongoing research and analysis of the issues raised by the court.” FMCSA goes on to say it is “putting forward the 2003 rule as the ‘proposal’ on which public comments are sought.”
Specifically, FMCSA is seeking comments on “what changes to that rule, if any, are necessary to respond to the concerns raised by the court, and to provide data or studies that would support changes to, or continued use of, the 2003 rule.”
FMCSA noted that the current HOS rules can remain in effect no later than Sept. 30, 2005, under the terms of the Surface Transportation Act of 2004.
The NPRM contains specific information on a variety of topics, as well as specific questions FMCSA would like to have answered by industry respondents.
The response period for the NPRM is relatively short, with all comments due by March 10, 2005. Comments, which should be identified by “DOT DMS Docket Number FMCSA-2004-19608,” may be submitted by any of the following methods, but FMCSA prefers the web site be used:
Web site: http://dms.dot.gov
Mail: Docket Management Facility; U.S. DOT, 400 Seventh St. SW, Nassif Bldg., Rm PL-401, Washington, DC 20590-0001
Hand Delivery: Rm PL-401 on plaza level of Nassif Bldg, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Mon.-Fri.