U.S. Department of Transportation
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 9, 2000
Contact: David Longo
U.S. DOT Determined to
Regulation Forward, Will
Extend Time for Public Comment
In a letter yesterday to
U.S. Sen. Richard C. Shelby, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on
Transportation, U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater strongly opposed
the idea of adding to the pending DOT appropriations bill a provision that would
prohibit the Department's new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
(FMCSA) from acting on comments on its proposed hours-of-service rulemaking.
The U.S. Department of
Transportation is preparing a Federal Register notice that would extend the
comment to Oct. 30, 2000. The current comment period ends July 31, 2000.
Also yesterday, senior
executives from Public Citizen, American Insurance Association, Advocates for
Highway and Auto Safety, and the Trauma Foundation all signed a letter
supporting the rulemaking process and opposing the delaying provision, to
Chairman Shelby and the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO sent a
supporting letter to U.S. Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, ranking member of the
Transportation Subcommittee on Appropriations.
"We have heard from
industry representatives about the pace of the rulemaking, and I am prepared to
extend the comment period for 90 days to allow interested members of the public
more time for in-depth analysis of the proposal's details and to clarify
matters that have arisen since the proposal was issued," Secretary Slater
Secretary Slater on April
25 announced a proposed rulemaking on hours-of-service that is science-based and
designed to improve highway safety by ensuring that drivers of large trucks and
buses have the opportunity to get adequate rest. The FMCSA is conducting eight
public meetings around the country to obtain comments on the rulemaking.
The rulemaking is part of
FMCSA's safety action plan which includes an overall stretch goal of reducing
truck-related fatalities by 50 percent by the year 2010. In 1999, there were
5,203 truck-related fatalities.
President Clinton on Dec.
9, 1999 signed legislation creating the FMCSA, effective Jan. 1, 2000. It is a
free-standing safety agency responsible for regulating the trucking industry,
among other things. Heavy trucks are involved in almost 15 percent of all fatal
The notice of proposed
rulemaking would change current hours-of-service rules that were originally
established in 1935. Copies of Secretary Slater's June 8 letter can be
obtained by calling 202-366-0456.
# # #