DOT seeking input on how it should revise its regulations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) are under the microscope again, and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) wants the public’s help in deciding what to focus on.

The DOT is asking for public input in deciding how to go about reviewing and overhauling all of its regulations, including the FMCSRs. This is the second round of “regulatory review” since early 2011 when President Obama issued an executive order requiring federal agencies to review their rules and look for ways to make them more effective and less burdensome.

In the first round of review, the DOT says it identified 135 regulations that need updating, removal, or other changes. One rule that may be removed as a result of this process is the requirement that drivers complete a post-trip inspection report when there are no defects to report.

In this round, the DOT is collecting information on specific questions about how to proceed, including whether the agency should:

  • ask for suggestions for specific rules to be reviewed;
  • focus on a list of 56 specific rules already identified as having potential savings;
  • focus on the existing rules of a particular agency, like the FMCSRs, or rules that cut across agencies like the drug and alcohol testing rules;
  • hold listening sessions and workshops to focus on the issues; and/or
  • look at other alternatives.

“The Department has long recognized that there should be no more regulations than necessary and those that are issued should be simple, comprehensible, and impose only as much burden as is necessary,” the DOT wrote. “Likewise, the Department understands that review and revision of existing regulations is essential to ensure that they continue to meet the needs for which they originally were designed and that they remain cost-effective and cost justified.”

The DOT regulates safety issues across many modes of transportation, including aviation, motor carrier, railroad, motor vehicle, commercial space, and pipeline transportation.

Comments are due by March 31, 2014, and may be submitted online at under docket DOT-OST-2014-0024. The DOT announcement appeared in the Federal Register on February 27, 2014.