FMCSA to unveil final ruling on hours of service regulations within next 30 days, according to U.S. Court of Appeals filing

GRAIN VALLEY, Missouri , November 30, 2011 () – The long-awaited, much debated, yet still unknown, hours-of-service regulations will be unveiled within the next 30 days according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

That revelation came in the latest court filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

The final hours-of-service regulation is currently under review at the Office of Management and Budget. In the Nov. 28 court filing, the agency states that it expects to issue the final rule within the next 30 days – which could wind up being around Christmas or New Year’s. This would be the second time the agency has unveiled HOS regs right around Christmas in as many years. The proposed HOS regs were released on Dec. 23, 2010.

The latest filing is a joint motion to govern further proceedings filed by FMCSA, along with plaintiffs Public Citizen, Teamsters, Advocates for Highway Safety and Truck Safety Coalition. The motion asks that the pending court case remain in “abeyance” for 45 more days. In essence, the motion requests to keep the case on hold until the final regulations are released.

The filing does not give any indication as to what, if any, changes are included in the final regulation.

While the rule is at OMB, it is not available to public view or inspection. The only information provided to the public is:

“This rulemaking would propose changes to the hours of service requirements for drivers operating a commercial motor vehicle transporting property. The requirement for this rulemaking was established on Oct. 26, 2009, when Public Citizen et al. (petitioners) and FMCSA entered into a settlement agreement under which petitioners´ petition for judicial review of the Nov. 19, 2008, final rule on drivers´ hours of service will be held in abeyance pending the publication of an NPRM reevaluating the hours of service rule.”

Lawmakers and industry groups alike have pushed FMCSA not to modify the current hours of service. A Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending Subcommittee hearing scheduled for Nov. 30 will likely hear more of the same, considering the hearing is titled “The price of uncertainty: How much could department of transportation’s proposed billion dollar service rule cost consumers this holiday season?”

The regulation is on a short list of regulations under consideration in the Obama administration that will cost $1 billion or more. Rep. John Boehner, R-OH, requested the list. In a letter to Boehner, the administration identified the hours-of-service regulations as having an annual cost of $1 billion. That placed HOS seventh on a list of seven pending regs.

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