The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is banking on roundtable discussions scheduled over the next two weeks to answer fundamental questions about its bitterly contested proposal to reform the hours of service rules.
The roundtables, three sessions of two days each, are designed to give trucking and other interests a chance to present in-depth information on how the proposed reforms would work.

At each session, 20 or more invited participants will have a chance to answer questions in detail. Each session will focus on several specific hours of service issues. The sessions are open to the public, and members of the audience will be permitted to speak.
The agency explained in a protocol being released today that the sessions are not intended to be a search for consensus. "This is not a negotiating session, but a dialogue on understanding data and supporting information," the agency said.
The sessions will be moderated by FMCSA Acting Assistant Administrator Julie Anna Cirillo, assisted by the agency's Regulatory Ombudsman, Nancy Bennett.
Cirillo will pose questions to the roundtable group, and keep the responses on track. What she wants, she says, is facts, rather than concerns or opinions.
"Participants are asked to come to the roundtable willing to hear and discuss different factual and data-based opinions," the protocol says.
Each roundtable will include FMCSA technical experts who will pose questions to help them evaluate the information.
According to the protocol, the safety agency continues to hold open all of its options. After the comment period ends Dec. 15, and it has reviewed the full docket, the agency said it may to finalize all or part of the current proposal, it may issue a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking or it may gather more information.
Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater and Acting Deputy FMCSA Administrator Clyde Hart both have indicated that the supplemental rulemaking is a leading option. That approach would in effect repeat a portion of the rulemaking process. The public would have a chance to comment on the supplemental notice before the agency publishes a proposed rule.
Here are the witnesses at the roundtables.
· Sept. 25-26, Chevy Chase, Md., covering fatigue research, the economic impact of the proposal, and enforcement:
Kevin Williams, CEO, Distribution and LTL Conference; Michael F. Stark, Deputy Director-Contractor Division, American Road Builders and Transportation Assn.; Clifford W. Zwillich, Professor; Stephen Campbell, Executive Director, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance;
David R. Parker, President and CEO, Covenant Transport.
Also, Rita Bontz, President, Independent Truckers and Drivers Assn.;
Elisa R. Braver, Senior Research Analyst, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety; Joanne F. Casey, President, Intermodal Association of North America; Barbara Harsha, Executive Director, National Association of Governors' Highway Safety Representatives.
Also, Darrel Drobnich, Director-Government and Transportation Affairs, National Sleep Foundation; Frankie Willis, President Trucks, Inc.; Stephen G. Sprague, COO, United Motorcoach Assn.; Vincent Hughes, Truck Driver; Edward Wytkind, Executive Director,
Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO; Edward M. Emmett, President, National Industrial Transportation League.
Also, Greg Barranco, American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine; Bill Giorgis, President and CEO, Mike's Wrecker Service; John Cutler, General Counsel, National Small Shipments Traffic Conference; Herbert Schmidt, President, Contract Freighters Inc.; Michael W. Wickham, Chairman and CEO, Roadway Express.
Also, Suzie Schindewolf, Schindewolf Express; Peter Eide, Director of Labor Law Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; David J. Osiecki, Vice President of Safety and Operations, American Trucking Associations; and LaMont Byrd, Director of the Safety and Health Department, International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
· Sept. 28-29, Washington, D.C., covering sleeper berth requirements, communications during rest periods, weekend rest and hours of work per day:
Mark Edwards, Managing Director-Traffic Safety, American Automobile Assn.; Judith Stone, President and Executive Director, Advocates for Auto and Highway Safety; James LaSala, International President, Amalgamated Transit Union; Robb Mackie, Vice President-Government Relations, American Bakers Assn.; Joseph M. Harrison, President, American Moving & Storage Assn.
Also, David J. Osiecki, ATA; Brian Deery, Senior Director-Highway Division, Associated General Contractors of America; David P. Gaibas, truck driver; Jack Haugsland, COO, Greyhound Lines; LaMont Byrd, Teamsters; Melissa Young, Government Affairs Counsel, Petroleum Marketers Association of America; Lawrence Liberatore, Parents Against Tired Truckers.
Also, Robert Rothstein, Counsel, Truckload Carriers Assn.; Robert A. Voltman, Executive Director and CEO, Transportation Intermediaries Assn.; Earl Eisenhart, Government Relations Director, Snack Food Assn; David Owen, President, National Association of Small Trucking Companies; Kevin Burke, Vice President-Government Operations, Food Distributors International.
Also, Charles Kurz, Vice President, Keystone Shipping; Ron Linkous, President and CEO, Con-Way Truckload Services; and John Bowers, International President, International Longshoremen's Assn.
· Oct. 5-6, Washington, D.C., covering categories of operations, electronic onboard recorders and exemptions:
Peter J. Pantuso, President, American Bus Assn.; David F. Snyder, Vice President and Senior Counsel, American Insurance Assn.; Tim DePaepe, Director-Research, Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen; Michael J. Scippa, Executive Director, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways; Dan England, CEO, C. R. England.
Also, Timothy P. Lynch, President and CEO, Motor Freight Carriers Assn.; John A. McQuaid, Executive Director, National Private Truck Council; Robert Garbini, President National Ready Mixed Concrete Assn.; Jonathan Glazier, Counsel, National Rural Electric Cooperative Assn.; Clifford J. Harvison, President, National Tank Truck Carriers.
Also, James J. Johnston, President, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assn.; Robert C. Pape, President, National Association for Pupil Transportation; Max Fuller, Co-Chairman, U.S. Express Enterprises; Martha and Guy Dodd, Team Drivers; Tony Reynolds, Product Manager, VDO North America; David Lefever, Executive Director, National Association of Fleet Administrators.
Also, Steven Hensley, Director-Regulatory Affairs, Agricultural Retailers Assn.; David J. Heller, Vice President-Risk Management, Corporate Qwest; Lane Kidd, President, Arkansas Trucking Assn.; Robert P. Farrell, President, National Automobile Transporters Assn.; and Charles Whittington, Chairman, Agricultural Transporters Conference.