FMCSA Boss Says No “Major Changes” Coming Despite President Trump’s Urging
Washington D.C. – Last month, President Donald Trump urged United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) Secretary Elaine Chao to cut regulations “nobody would believe,” but that’s not going to happen in trucking according to the Acting Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Speaking at the Truckload Carriers Association’s (TCA) Virtual Safety & Security Conference on Tuesday, Jim Mullen, Acting Administrator of the FMCSA, told industry stakeholders not to expect much to change with regard to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) moving forward.
“I would caution people from thinking that there’s going to be any major wholesale changes,” Mullen stated.
In May, President Trump signed an Executive Order giving broad authority to each Department head to slash regulations that could impede economic recovery.
“We are fighting for the livelihoods of American workers and we must continue to cut through every piece of red tape that stands in our way,” Mr. Trump said. “With millions of Americans forced out of work by the virus its more important than ever to remove burdens that destroy American jobs.”
The President expressed he was instructing federal agencies to use “any and all authority to waive, suspend and eliminate unnecessary regulations that impede economic recovery.”
He even directed specific comments to Secretary Chao.
“Elaine, you can do things that nobody would believe in your Department, the Department of Transportation,” Mr. Trump said.
The FMCSA has taken unprecedented actions in response to President Trump’s COVID-19 National Emergency declaration.
For instance, the Agency issued a 50-state hours of service (HOS) exemption for carriers engaged in relief efforts and has since extended, but scaled it back.
It also provided waivers of certain FMCSRs involving the training/testing of commercial learner’s permit holders, third party commercial driver’s license (CDL) examiners, pre-employment controlled substance testing, and expiring CDLs, CLPs, and medical cards.
Mullen expressed surprise that State authorities have not shown an eagerness to see these waivers be extended.
“Our State partners are critical on several of those waivers,” he said. “The appetite wasn’t as strong on some of those provisions as I thought it might have been.”
Specifically, Mullen expressed surprise that the waiver which allows State Driver’s Licensing Agencies (SDLAs) to administer a driving skills test to any out of state CDL applicant, regardless of where the applicant received driver training, was not more well-received.
“I would have thought the appetite for out-of-state knowledge testing would have been stronger,” he commented.
Mullen did not mention any other regulation under consideration for elimination.
Uncharacteristically, the Agency has been unresponsive to Transportation Nation Network’s direct inquiries on this subject.
TransportationNation.com will continue to monitor any new developments.