OOIDA conducts first formal meeting with new FMCSA leader

February 2020

Mark Schremmer

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Soon after Jim Mullen took charge of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, members of OOIDA’s leadership team traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with the agency’s acting administrator.

It was OOIDA’s first formal meeting with Mullen since he took over the agency’s leadership role after Ray Martinez stepped down as administrator on Oct. 28.

OOIDA President Todd Spencer and Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh sat down with Mullen on Nov. 20 to talk about such issues as hours-of-service reform and the large truck crash causation study.

Mullen’s predecessor helped move the agency toward reforming the hours-of-service regulations and providing more flexibility to professional truck drivers.

FMCSA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking in August with five main changes to hours of service. The public comment period on the notice ended on Oct. 21, and a final rule could come sometime in 2020.

Jim Mullen meets OOIDA
OOIDA Executive VP Lewie Pugh, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration acting Administrator Jim Mullen and OOIDA President and CEO Todd Spencer met in Washington, D.C., in November to discuss topics including hours of service, crash causation and DataQ. Photo by Collin Long

“It was a good visit,” Pugh said. “He said he plans to stay the course of Martinez. We expect the hours-of-service plan to go through.” OOIDA started the push for hours-of-service reform when it petitioned the agency in February 2018.

Pugh said the Association will continue to work within the system to spur positive change for truck drivers.

“We don’t always agree with the regulations, but we know we have to work within the system for change,” Pugh said. “You can’t change things by just folding your arms, stomping the ground, and saying, ‘No.’ We have to provide solid reasons and data for why change is needed.”

Martinez announced on Oct. 10 that he would be leaving his post to oversee a Department of Transportation construction project at the Volpe Center in Massachusetts.

At the same time Martinez’s departure was announced, Mullen was moved from FMCSA’s chief counsel to deputy administrator. In the new role, Mullen will serve as the agency’s acting administrator until a permanent replacement is announced.

Pugh said that OOIDA and Mullen have continued to have correspondence since the meeting and that the OOIDA Foundation provided data regarding hours of service to the agency. LL

Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and nearly two decades of journalism experience to our staff.