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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

HOS review extended by White House

Byline: – By Jami Jones, senior editor LandLine Magazine

The journey toward a new hours-of-service regulation may have hit at snag at the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Instead of having the rule clear OMB on Oct. 26, its review has now been “extended.” The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration had planned to have the rule cleared by Oct. 26 and ready to publish on Nov. 4 in the Federal Register.

OMB does not indicate on its daily report how long the review could be extended.

FMCSA submitted the notice of proposed rulemaking to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget on July 26.

Typically, that would have been the first opportunity for the public to get any sort of hint as to what the agency is doing with the HOS regs. However, the abstract provided by FMCSA does not offer any insight as to what the agency is proposing for HOS. Instead, the abstract outlines FMCSA’s obligation to revisit the rule because of a settlement agreement and the way the agency is approaching the HOS revision.

The OMB deadline was part of a settlement agreement between FMCSA and Public Citizen, which was signed on Oct. 26, 2009.

Once OMB signs off on the regulation, it will then be published in the Federal Register. That will be the first time that the public will get full disclosure of the agency’s plans on what – if any – changes will be made to the current HOS regulations.

The settlement agreement allows for FMCSA and Public Citizen to file a joint motion 30 days after the NPRM is published in the Federal Register to determine what path the lawsuit will follow.

The settlement also contained a provision that FMCSA agreed to publish a final rulemaking on HOS within 21 months of signing. That means the final rule would be published in July 2011.

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