August 19, 2020
Transport Topics --- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration acting Administrator Jim Mullen will leave his position at the end of August with Wiley Deck, a senior policy adviser within DOT’s Office of the Secretary, assuming the role of deputy administrator. Deck previously served as director of government affairs at FMCSA.
Mullen has served as acting administrator since October 2019 when he succeeded Ray Martinez, who left to oversee redevelopment construction at DOT’s John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Mullen’s 10-month tenure as acting administrator has been a busy period for the trucking industry. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when truckers were called on to deliver personal protective equipment and sanitary supplies, FMCSA issued an emergency declaration relaxing certain hours-of-service regulations for motor carriers involved in coronavirus-related relief efforts. This included a partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, industry groups and state representatives to distribute 1 million protective masks to commercial truck drivers.
Additionally, Mullen joined Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in announcing FMCSA’s final rule on changes to HOS regulations. It included four revisions that pertain to issues truckers have voiced concerns about, such as the 30-minute rest break and splitting up time in the sleeper berth. The final rule will take effect September 29.
ATA was among the industry groups that submitted comments to FMCSA on the proposed HOS changes. The federation commented favorably on most of the proposed rule changes when they were announced but raised concerns regarding the shorthaul provision based on the fact that changing the air mile radius could lead to more carriers not needing to use an electronic logging device. ATA has supported the use of ELDs.
“During his time at FMCSA, Jim Mullen was a dedicated public servant and a champion of safety,” Spear said. “Through an extremely challenging time, he was a great partner for the trucking industry, willing to listen and work with stakeholders from across the spectrum, even when making decisions we might not have completely agreed with.”