It is apparent from the timeline Congress set that the study process will consume most of next year (see below).
The next step will be an announcement by FMCSA that the 2013 restart is suspended and the older restart is in effect.
The agency said in a statement that it is working to ensure that the 12,000 state and federal motor carrier enforcement personnel are prepared for the change. The enforcement community has expressed concern about this process.
Steve Keppler, executive director of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, warned that police will not be able to adjust quickly.
Inspectors need training, and the software they use for roadside inspections and compliance reviews must be changed, he said. He predicted that carriers will see uneven implementation of the new provision, which will affect data quality and CSA scores.
The future of the restart appears to depend on what the study finds.
The law is specific about the timeline and about what the study should cover (see below), but it does not say what the Department of Transportation must do in response to the study.
Here’s the timeline.
The study also must compare five months of work schedules and safety critical events, such as crashes and near-crashes, for fleets of all sizes and types of operations.
The agency must use electronic log data “to the extent practicable.”
An independent panel of medical and scientific experts must review the initial study plan and final report.
The law is silent on what happens when the study is done. Presumably, if it shows that one restart provides a greater net benefit than the other, then FMCSA will adopt that provision as part of the rule.