This week, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced Federal Motor Carrier Safety (FMCSA) Administrator Ray Martinez will step down from his position at the end of October.
Martinez will remain with the agency, overseeing redevelopment construction at the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, Mass. Until President Trump nominates and the Senate confirms a replacement, FMCSA Chief Counsel Jim Mullen will serve as interim administrator. Alan Hanson, deputy administrator, will become the chief counsel.
Since Martinez first stepped into the role in February 2018, he traveled the country holding public listening sessions, speaking with truckers and industry stakeholders and presenting at trade shows and industry events. Martinez has earned praise from the transportation community as an active and visible leader. His time at the agency will be well-known for his efforts to review and overhaul the hours-of-service rules.
With Martinez’s departure, what will happen with the FMCSA’s ongoing plans to overhaul the HOS regulations?
Initially announced in summer 2019, the FMCSA published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on changes to HOS rules that would affect how a driver’s time is measured. The plan focused on driver safety and giving commercial shipping companies greater route flexibility. One change, like on-duty time extension from 14 hours to 16 to account for weather and unforeseen traffic conditions, would allow dispatched drivers room for delays without adversely affecting freight delivery and customer expectations.
For now, while no plans have been announced, it’s business as usual. Customers should continue to observe the current HOS legislation, which means adhering to the December 2019 AOBRD to ELD deadline, which is a short two months away.