Obama’s remaining 16 months could be busy ones for FMCSA, says former agency head

FMCSA may face pressure in the coming months to push hard to publish regulations before President Obama’s second term ends, says former FMCSA Administrator Annette Sandberg.FMCSA may face pressure in the coming months to push hard to publish regulations before President Obama’s second term ends, says former FMCSA Administrator Annette Sandberg.

On the trucking regulatory front, “the next year should be fun,” said former FMCSA Administrator Annette Sandberg, taking a sarcastic jab at the looming regulatory onslaught carriers and others in the industry can expect in the coming year and a half.

Sandberg spoke at FTR’s Transportation Conference on Wednesday in Indianapolis, where she gave an overview of recent and upcoming regulatory changes expected to be finalized in the remainder of this year and throughout 2016.

Though many of the regulations have been in the works before President Obama took office in January 2009, pressure is on to get new rules published before he leaves office, she said.

“The president has made it clear he wants to have a robust regulatory agenda, and not just in transportation,” Sandberg said, saying regulations that will be “pushed through no matter what” include rules to mandate electronic logging devices, bar driver coercion and implement the Safety Fitness Determination scoring system to supplement the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program.

Sandberg, who headed the agency in the first half of last decade and preceded former Administrator Anne Ferro, now runs compliance assistance firm TransSafe Consulting.

Annette SandbergAnnette Sandberg

Other regulations that could come before 2017 include the CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, an entry-level driver training rule, a speed limiter mandate and the next phase of emissions and fuel economy regulations.

One key factor that could stymie regulatory activity, however, even if temporarily, is the needed Senate confirmation for nominated FMCSA Administrator Scott Darling, Sandberg said. Darling likely won’t take action on big regulations until after the Senate has confirmed him, she said, and his looming nomination could also be the reason a Final Rule to mandate electronic logging devices has been delayed to the end of October, she said.