- The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) received 2,810 submissions to its October request for comments to guide it in a regulatory review, which sought to identify rules that would be "good candidates for repeal, replacement, suspension, or modification."
- The regulatory review is a result of three executive orders signed by President Donald Trump from January 30 to March 28, 2017, which altogether directed agencies to "scrutinize their regulations and other agency actions."
- Transport Topics reports many of the comments from drivers were largely negative, protesting the upcoming electronic logging device mandate. However, the DOT also received suggestions from airlines, industry associations, manufacturers and even nurse practitioners outlining specific clauses that should be repealed or modernized.
The public comments on deregulation reveal the vast challenges faced by a transportation industry in transition.
As the DOT prepares to welcome high-impact technologies such as autonomous vehicles, they will also have to face Trump's deregulatory order requiring companies to cut two rules for every new regulation proposed. If, for example, the FMCSA were looking to ease the process of acquiring a commercial driver's license, address driver misclassification, or find ways to reduce sleep apnea, they must have a list of regulations they are ready to scrap.
As a result, the request for comments was likely an effort to identify outdated regulations, wherein scrapping the rules would do no harm, so to say.
In its request, the agency sought out a "specific reference," a description of the burden, alternatives and an example of affected entities. So while dozens of drivers took the stage to protest the upcoming ELD mandate, many of the comments did not meet those requirements.
However, the DOT regulates more than just the trucking industry. A number of airlines commented with specific requests, as did the likes of Hyundai Motor Company and groups like Amtrak and the Agricultural Retailers Association. A full list of comments can be found here.