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Martinez tells ATA the process on possible changes in HOS will move faster than normal Washington pace

Raymond Martinez, the administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, didn’t tip his hand Saturday on the ongoing process that could result in changes in Hours of Service rules, but did say he wants it to finish faster than typical Washington speed.

Martinez spoke at the first public session at the American Trucking Associations’ annual Management Conference & Exhibition in Austin. The packed-house room was told that the traditional speed for a process like that which is looking at certain parts of the HOS rule might normally take three years. 

“I told my staff that is unacceptable, so we are on a fast track,” Martinez said. “We are hoping to have some progress as soon as we synthesize the submitted comments to move forward to the next step.”

Martinez noted that the current Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was not a specific, already-written proposed regulation seeking comments on what amounted to a done deal. Rather, he stressed that it was posing questions to commenters on what FMCSA should do regarding five specific issues: the combined 100 air-mile exemption combined with a hours of service limit; extending HOS for adverse driving conditions; revision of the mandatory 30-minute break; the split sleeper berth rule;  and the request of OOIDA that under some interpretations could effectively turn the 14-hour workday into a 17-hour day.

Martinez said FMCSA got more than 5,000 comments, some of which were constructive and some of which he said to audience laughter were “colorful.” “We will go and synthesize them and we have the pressure on us,” Martinez said of his determination to not run into that 3-year time range he said he was told was the norm.

The comment period for that ANPR ended earlier in October. This coming week will see the close of a comment period on the separate California meal and rest break requirements that differ from federal rules, and the request by the ATA for a determination that an individual state’s rules are superseded by the federal regulations.

Martinez said FMCSA will have a decision on that ATA petition “after due evaluation.” To strong applause, he also said: “I have made comments before that I am very concerned about patchwork systems where every state gets to decide these issues.”

Martinez also said FMCSA has “pulled a RIN,” which in Washington parlance means to seek a Regulation Identity Number on the issue of HOS and ELD exemptions for agricultural transportation.

Pulling a RIN means starting the process for a regulatory review that would answer the many “ambiguities” in the current laws regarding livestock transportation, according to Jim Mullen, FMCSA chief counsel who attended the session. A RIN would first be necessary for an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking that would seek to clarify such issues as whether livestock haulers can continue to operate without an ELD and the fact that some types of livestock fall under one set of HOS rules and exemptions while others have a different set of rules.

Martinez said dealing with the livestock issue has been particularly thorny. He joked that if he told some livestock haulers they could drive 24 hours per day, “they’d say, ‘what do you mean? Why can’t I drive 25 hours per day?'”

Fresh off five listening sessions about the ANPR for HOS rules, Martinez several times touted his agency’s determination to continue listening and the obligation of the trucking community to provide feedback in return. “If I don’t come home from this conference with a checklist of things that we have to check on, then we haven’t done our job and you haven’t done your job either, ” he said. “We expect to have that level of conversation.”

Other issues addressed by Martinez:

–Any sort of federal infrastructure project should look at the issue of parking, he said. It should study the construction of more “safe rest areas” for truck drivers, or at least look at technological solutions to better match the availability of parking with trucker needs.

–In response to a question from the audience about setting up state clearinghouses with information on drug testing results, Martinez asked for patience. FMCSA continues to work on setting up its drug and alcohol clearinghouse, and the mandate is to have that up and running by January 2020. He demurred slightly as to whether it would make that date, but said a federal approach would be far preferable to state-by-state clearinghouses, even if the latter could get set up faster.

— Early results on full implementation of the ELD rule have been “promising.” Of more than 1.4 million inspections since April, less than 1% have failed to have an ELD when required to do so. (There remains a percentage of the fleet that can continue to use Automatic On-Board Recording Devices). Violations of HOS rules have decreased 48% in the last year.

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John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.


  1. Still screws us to 11hr drive time this is not freedom to run business the way o/o has to at times.martines your a political weasel

  2. First of all I agree with you sir about having more suitable parking how would you like to look for parking for two and a half to three hours when everyone is waking up and getting loaded in the morning and everyone is sleeping at night because your precious Eld I know I’m not the only one with this issue but worse than that is the fact that once we get to customers we’re getting kicked out whether we’re getting received or shipped these shippers and receivers should have been regulated long before you put an e l d and service sir how the hell would you like it if you were awake for more than almost the 414 with no reset because of traffic accidents and other section situational scenarios as well as the fact of Stop & Go on back state roads with no where to park for the collection and combination of the fact that the customer kicks you out and then they post a note no driver parking on our lot we will tell you and this is at every Walmart Distribution Center and every Target and every single major distributor almost in the entire United States I know I’m not the only truck driver that sick of seeing it sir if you wish to keep disrespecting truck drivers that have professionals that have been on the road for well over 20 years go ahead between the US Military and the civilian world but I’m here to tell you the US military has no EOD in their vehicle sir why is there a double standard why is it that the US military doesn’t have to use a ELD why is it that police officers don’t use an ELD why is it that firefighters don’t use an elt why are you going to make us only using Eld you think that they’re safer how much safer could they be when I’m looking for parking and I’m in violation and stressing the hell out about my OBC sing through my PA system in my truck while I’m trying to backup my name and then you are out of hours of service driving time repeatedly while I’m trying to backup my vehicle how am I supposed to listen with my windows down radio off air off and this thing blasting in my face saying you are out of hours of service driving time you are out of hours of service driving time you are our hours of service driving time over and over again well I’m trying to park at a customer because I’ve ran out of hours and ran out of options no parking in the rest areas and apparently New Jersey thinks it’s all the phenomenal idea to close their Department of Transportation inspection station to truck drivers at night time on the entry point on the main Corridor why the hell is. Shutting down their doors and their parking to us at night time every single deal T inspection station that shut down the entire United States out of Erie opened reconstructed for parking for every semi truck out here on the road that’s number 1 and number 2 you need to get with these so-called big box stores like Walmart every single one of their DC’s you may not park on site you may not park on site you will be towed at your own expense or your company’s own expense how the hell are we supposed to get any sleep or any rest when we’re being threatened consistently then when I went to go RI Park on a dead-end state road a State Trooper gives me a parking violation so which one am I supposed to abide by the EOD the tells me to shut down or I’m going to be in violation or the fact that I’m going to get a violation from a State Trooper for parking then he forced me to move knowing there was no parking in the truck stop that he told me to go to so then I had to drive another 3 hours on violation yeah this comments long and I know I’m not the only driver that’s angry the system doesn’t work how could it work for anyone on the East Coast when there’s almost no parking and I would say roughly about 80% of every area on the East Coast I can’t park on a state road that’s illegal I can’t park on the collector-distributor ramp because you allowed to state troopers to ticket me for a parking violation and I can’t park at the customer because you never regulated them to force them to create hold over parking for semi truck drivers to safely get sleep while they’re on the lot you guys need to pull your head out of your butt we’re sick of it that’s why you’re running a shortage of truck drivers for you good luck that’s why I 2.5 million of us because we knew what would happen

  3. And I disagree with the other driver I think you can make people happy by opening and repaving every shutdown inspection station in the United States why is it that every one of them that is more than adequate for 20 or more trucks is shut down in Arkansas can you tell me that I’d like to know why like 4 of them are all shut down on a major interstate you need to regulate the customers the shippers and receivers to create hold of her parking at the facility that way the driver is an Inglis Lee wandering around while he’s half tired fumbling looking for somewhere to park in a truck stop where you know he’s probably going to have an accident because he’s already tired in a truck stop that’s probably well over full I should take a photo of the truck stop I’m at right now this truck stop over in Missouri and it’s not even the East Coast has well over 500 trucks or more in it you need to create options allow us to park on collector-distributor ranch when we’re running out of hours of service allow us to park on dead-end state roads or on the side of state roads when there’s adequate parking to pull off and hit are four ways because how safe is it for a driver I want you to think about this when they get toll receiver or they get to a shipper and they’re out of hours and they have no more personal conveyance to burn for them to be looking around for parking because they’re being kicked off the premises by the customer you need to regulate it Force hold over parking for the amount of trucks that they receive per day at least half that would clear out some of these rest areas and truck stops and by the way you guys should Supply Federal funding to these truck stops to expand why is it that I’m going to loves and there’s only like 12 or 14 parking stalls over in Illinois why is it illegal to park at a Walmart in Illinois because they created a state law that they don’t want us idling and even when we don’t Idol we’re not allowed to park there or they will find Walmart $5,000 per semi truck I want to know why it is that you’re in charge of this operation and it is been so messed up why is it that you did not first come to truck drivers and asked us for input before you create these rules who are the backbone of this country especially those of us who have done this for over 20 years don’t you think our input is invaluable why don’t you listen next time before you create a law and you regulate and legislate and then hand it down and handcuff people to a ELD why don’t you look at the entire situation and the scope of the entire situation and think real hard about who it is whose lives are in jeopardy obviously it’s not yours you don’t care if you can’t find parking at 12:01 or 2 in the morning do you because I almost guarantee you any truck stop a rest area that you go to there’s trucks going all the way out to the freeway ramp going in and going out same is true with the weigh stations you guys failed us that’s what you did you failed Supply adequate parking before you regulated the industry properly I’m angry about it frustrated upset because I’ve received a parking violation because I was trying to follow your log ELD when I got kicked out of the Walmart DC over in West Virginia try to park on a dead-end state road still receive a parking violation from a state trooper and then he did a level 2 inspection on my vehicle while he knew I was out of hours of service and I was in off duty status get you Sprite me no sticker for my truck this is why you lose valuable professional drivers who have no accidents no tickets because you won’t let us Park on collector-distributor ramps you won’t let us Park in Walmart parking lots you won’t let us Park in Target parking lots and I’m talking about stores you won’t let us park at Home Depot parking lots Lowe’s parking lots regulate these private customers and force the parking at night time when there’s no cars make it happen captain or else you risk losing more truck drivers who are already thinking about retraining in another career field and yeah the comet is long I care about what I do I care about the service I provide but I don’t care for is when my customer kicks me out of the facility knowing I have no hours left I mean I ask the Walmart manager at the DC in West Virginia what if I drove out of this yard with no hours of service turned out of this yard and ran over your daughter or your son you would surely sue me knowing that I’m out of hours of service they kicked us out of their facility plain and simple it needs to end

  4. And none of these brainiacs made mention of the 14 hour limit, the dumbest and most dangerous rule the dot has ever come up with. Nor the horrible truck stop overcrowding that increased overnight after the mandate. There’s too many nerds in Washington that don’t even know or understand what they’re making rules for.