Hours of Service reform has been on the to-do list for years now. Ever since the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate went into effect, the need for serious reform has been highlighted even more. Now, we have official confirmation from the head of the FMCSA that the agency is indeed moving forward with attempting to fix the HOS rules.
FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez spoke on Monday at the Omnitracs User Conference in Dallas. During the speech, he gave the first official confirmation that the agency would be moving ahead with HOS reform. According to Martinez, the FMCSA will publish a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
The agency had previously published an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) concerning HOS reform. ANPRMs however are sometimes used to test the waters and gauge public reaction to a general idea. With a NPRM, the FMCSA will move one big step closer to HOS reform being a reality.
During the public comment period on the ANPRM, the FMCSA received over 5,200 comments, mostly in support of HOS reform. FMCSA will take suggestions from those comments, from research, from policymakers, and from industry stakeholders to come up with a proposed rule.
While Martinez didn’t make any concrete promises about areas of HOS reform, he did hint that the agency wants to introduce increased flexibility for on and off-duty time – one of the more popular talking points in the ANPRM comments.
According to Martinez, reform efforts are supposed to happen on “a very aggressive time line” that would see a NPRM published by March. But a DOT official told Overdrive in January that the partial government shutdown may have put a speed bump in the road. According to the official, because many DOT employees were furloughed, no work was getting done. And even once the government reopened, the DOT workers then had to run through their backlog of work.