Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood wrote Senator Ayotte (R-NH) on October 19 to discourage the Senator from offering an amendment prohibiting the use of federal funds in fiscal year 2012 to “finalize, enforce or implement” the proposed hours-of-service regulations proposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in December 2010.

“The amendment would prevent the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from applying the most comprehensive and up-to-date data and analysis to the issue of driver fatigue and allowable hours of service,”  Secretary LaHood said in the letter.   This letter and other similar messages kept Senator Ayotte from formally offering her amendment.

 The trucking industry have criticized portions of the FMCSA’s proposed new rule, especially the FMCSA’s stated preference to reduce the number of daily driving hours from 11 to 10, new restrictions on the 34-hour restart provision, and the reduction of daily on-duty hours from 14 to 13.

 The new rule was scheduled to be published by October 28, but it has yet to be reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and it is highly unlikely that OMB can thoroughly review the final rule to meet the October deadline.