U.S. to decide against negotiated rulemaking on hours-of-service reforms

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 19) — An attempt to negotiate reforms to the truck driver hours of service rules appears to have failed.

The final decision is in the hands of Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater, but sources say the U.S. Federal Highway Administration has recommended that it proceed with a traditional rulemaking, rather than the negotiated approach.

FHWA told the Secretary of Transportation that key stakeholders in the reform process — the Teamsters union and a citizen safety group — will not participate, the sources said.

Julie Cirillo, chief of FHWA’s Office of Motor Carrier and Highway Safety, has said that if the negotiations failed she would get the rulemaking process in gear by this July. She aims to bring the controversial reforms to conclusion by the end of 2000.

Hours-of-service reforms have been stalled for years by deeply felt disagreements among the stakeholders. FHWA has attempted traditional rulemakings, the most recent being a 1996 proposal that never got beyond the initial stages.

The negotiated rulemaking was an attempt to short-circuit the lengthy traditional process by having an outside group bring the stakeholders to consensus.

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