The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) may publish the commercial truck drivers’ hours-of-service (HOS) rules in the Federal Register by Friday or Monday, according to a Truckload Carriers Assn. spokesperson. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is reviewing the rules for administrative approval.

“It’s not yet confirmed [that the rule will be published by Monday],” David Osiecki, vp of safety for the American Trucking Assns. told Fleet Owner. “The agency wants to beat the Sept. 30 deadline substantially. OMB indicated they are very close to clearing the rule for publication and there are some rumblings from FMCSA that there may be a press briefing from the agency as early as later this week.”

The rules were sent to OMB on July 28 as Congress was passing the highway bill. The highway bill had no language that would codify the existing rules into law, despite support for such a measure from trucking interests and FMCSA. Had Congress codified HOS, the agency would have skirted a court-ordered mandate to issue an HOS final rule that addresses driver health impacts by Sept. 30.

Although FMCSA is required to make a final rule effective on Sept. 30, there was no court mandate on a compliance date, according to Betty Weiland, editorial manager-- transportation for compliance service provider J.J. Keller & Associates.

“The amount [of time between the effective and compliance dates] will vary depending on the type of rule and how complex it is,” Weiland told Fleet Owner. “Back in 2003, the new hours-of-service final rule was published on April 28, effective June 27, and the compliance date wasn’t until Jan. 4, 2004. In that case, FMCSA gave about six months.”

An FMCSA spokesperson was contacted but wouldn’t comment on a publishing date for the HOS rulemaking.