HOS Rule Changes Moving At “Lightening Speed”… OMB Deems “Economically Significant”

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has already completed its review of the economic significance of the newly proposed rule on hours of service (HOS) regulation changes, according to its website.

It took OMB less than 72 hours to complete its review with regard to its economic impact and deem the newly proposed HOS rule changes as “economically significant.”

In order for a proposed rule to be deemed as “economically significant” by OMB the overall economic impact, whether positive or negative, must exceed $100 million.

 

According to OMB policy, economically significant regulations must meet additional analytical requirements: Anticipated benefits and costs must be quantified to the extent possible; Agencies must provide cost-benefit analysis of reasonable alternatives and “an explanation of why the planned regulatory action is preferable to the identified potential alternatives.”

Though the OMB has not completed its full review, its rapid determination of economic significance is highly notable because it often takes months to make such a determination.

The proposed rule remains on track to be sent back to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) within 90 days for the agency to complete an economic impact study, which it is required by federal law to do before the rule can be published into the Federal Register.

Once it is published in the Federal Register the agency will provide a public comment period which historically has been 60-90 days.

However, it is possible the comment period in this case could be shortened given the speed at which the agency has already moved on HOS reform thus far.

Andrea Marks, Director of Communications of TruckerNation, a grassroots group of truckers fighting for better regulations, tells TNN in an exclusive interview she is excited about the “lightening speed” at which the proposed rule was reviewed by OMB.

“I’ve been a federal employee for 13 years and this is the fastest I’ve ever seen a proposed rule go from the Secretary of Transportation to the OMB, and a decision made as to the economic significance,” Marks said. “Sometimes it takes two or three months.”

It was just last Friday, March 29, that U.S. Dept. of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao, announced in front of a packed audience at the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS), that a proposed rule had been sent to OMB for review.

“I’m pleased to announce today that the department is moving forward with the next step which is a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding HOS rules,” Chao said to a rousing ovation from those in attendance.

Marks says she believes the speed at which the HOS regulatory process has been moving to this point suggests Sec. Chao and leaders of the FMCSA understand the importance of this issue. “I think it is very safe to say that we will see a proposed rule much, much sooner than we ever expected,” she said.

 

What Is In The Newly Proposed Rule?

It’s the question that is on every one’s mind, “What is in the newly proposed rule changes?” Many in the trucking community remain concerned since the content is not yet known.

Sec. Chao did not comment on the specifics during her address at MATS. “I can’t say very much while the rule is under consideration… but let me note that the department understands the strong interest in increasing flexibility and is giving it serious consideration,” she stated.

TNN has spoken to quite a few sources with knowledge of the agency’s thinking on this issue.

We will be bringing you new information about what is likely to be included in the new rule in part II of our two-part series, Common Sense HOS, which will be published on Thursday of this week exclusively on TransportationNation.com.

Until then, check out part I HERE.

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