The U.S. Department of Transportation announced on May 26 that Deputy Secretary Jeffrey Rosen will serve as DOT’s Regulatory Reform Officer and chairman of the department’s Regulatory Reform Task Force.

RRTF was formed earlier this year in accordance with President Trump’s Executive Order 13777, which directs each federal agency to establish such a task force to make recommendations to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens. 

According to DOT, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao has “directed the RRTF to consider ways to accomplish DOT’s primary safety objectives in less burdensome ways and to further review ‘midnight rules’ that were issued at the end of the last administration.” 

DOT has provided no details as to which rules might fall under that description or even which subordinate agencies, such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, might be home to such rules.

It should be noted that while the text of Executive Order 13777 indicates the president seeks reforms “regarding offsetting the number and cost of new regulations,” the directive also plainly states that, “Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect: the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency…”

In other words, it would appear that the work of the Regulatory Reform Task Force is not to be directed at regulations that have been mandated by Act of Congress.

Contacted by HDT about which if any rules might be in line for review by the task force, an FMCSA spokesman declined to comment.

Asked to comment on the RRTF marching orders, Lane Kidd, managing director of the Alliance for Driver Safety & Security, a trucking-safety lobby backed by a group of major carriers, told HDT that he is “not aware of any so-called midnight rules that FMCSA adopted before the Trump administration took office.

“Congress required that all interstate trucks install electronic logging devices later this year and Congress also required the creation of the drug and alcohol clearinghouse and guidance regarding hair test regulations, so all those should move forward,” he continued.

Kidd added that there are some proposed rules FMCSA has suspended “but none that were adopted at the last minute and since the agency’s sole mission is to decrease large truck accidents, I doubt this task force will be inclined to suspend any of these rules at FMCSA.”

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David Cullen

David Cullen

[Former] Business/Washington Contributing Editor

David Cullen comments on the positive and negative factors impacting trucking – from the latest government regulations and policy initiatives coming out of Washington DC to the array of business and societal pressures that also determine what truck-fleet managers must do to ensure their operations keep on driving ahead.

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