skip to main content

Newly Nominated FMCSA Chief to Face Changing Regulatory Environment

This month, President Trump nominated Raymond Martinez to lead the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”). Martinez currently serves as the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission chief and has previously led the New York Commission of Motor Vehicles and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.

Martinez’s nomination is supported by industry groups such as the American Trucking Associations. “Mr. Martinez is well-known to our industry from his work in New Jersey and New York, and exudes the kind of professionalism, integrity and focus on safety that FMCSA needs,” said Chris Spear, ATA president and CEO. “On behalf of ATA, I congratulate him on his nomination, and urge the Senate to quickly confirm him so we can begin working together on important highway safety issues.”

Martinez’s nomination has already been confirmed by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. If he is confirmed by the full Senate, he will be faced with challenges posed by a changing regulatory environment under the new administration. Notably, there is a pending December 18, 2017 implementation of a federal mandate requiring commercial trucks to be equipped with electronic logging devices (“ELD”), which would electronically regulate drivers’ hours of service on the road. Under current regulations, drivers are allowed 14 consecutive hours of on-duty time in the cabs but are limited to 11 hours of driving per day.

ELD technology would replace old paper log books drivers currently use to track their hours on the road. The paper system, which was implemented in the 1930’s under the Roosevelt Administration, has been criticized as susceptible to falsification by drivers and is a frequent issue in litigation arising out of serious motor-vehicle accidents.

Despite pushback from the transportation industry, there is no indication that the December 18th EDL implementation will not move forward. Though Martinez supports the rule, he has acknowledged the concerns of smaller players who may be burdened by the rule. “I look forward to working with all stakeholders, including small independent trucking companies, and especially those who, such as livestock haulers, would be most affected by this rule,” Martinez said. With regard to agricultural haulers, the FMCSA has already proposed a 90-day temporary waiver from the ELD requirement for transporters of agricultural commodities and intends to provide guidance pertaining to the existing hours-of-service exemption for the agricultural industry.

The KRCL Transportation Blog looks forward to keeping you updated about these and other new regulatory developments under the new leadership.