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August 14, 2020 9:15 PM, EDT

FMCSA’s Jim Mullen Stepping Down; Wiley Deck to Become Deputy Administrator

Jim Mullen and WIley DeckMullen (left) and Deck via fmcsa.dot.gov

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Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration acting Administrator Jim Mullen will leave his position at the end of August.

“At the end of the month, Jim Mullen will be leaving the department,” a U.S. Department of Transportation spokesman confirmed. “We greatly appreciate Jim’s service and the work he has done for our country.”

The spokesman also noted that Wiley Deck, a senior policy adviser within DOT’s Office of the Secretary, will assume the role of deputy administrator. Deck previously served as director of government affairs at FMCSA.

About Wiley Deck

  • Served on staff of former Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) for 23 years, including last six as chief of staff
  • Served as director of oversight and investigations for the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
  • Holds a Bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Central Florida

Source: fmcsa.dot.gov

Mullen has served as acting administrator since October 2019. He succeeded Ray Martinez, who left to oversee redevelopment construction at DOT’s John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, Mass.

“We’re going to be said to see [Mullen] leave,” said Collin Mooney, executive director of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. “I thought he was effective in his time at FMCSA. As with any departure within an agency, it does leave a little bit of uncertainty. However, we are familiar and work well with Wiley Deck. He knows all of the issues well.”

On Aug. 5, Mullen participated in FMCSA’s truck safety summit, which covered subjects such as driver-assist technologies. FMCSA has noted the safety benefits of such technologies, which include automatic braking systems, adaptive cruise control and forward-facing cameras.

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.

In partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, industry groups and state representatives, FMCSA distributed 1 million protective masks to commercial truck drivers in late April.

Jim Mullen (center) at an MCE panel in 2019. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

Jim Mullen (center) at an MCE panel in 2019, flanked by Bill Goins and Lisa Gonnerman. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

“It has been a pleasure working with Jim these past several months and we appreciate the challenging time in which he took on this role,” said Lewie Pugh, executive vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. “We wish him well and look forward to continuing to work with the agency. We have worked closely with Wiley Deck over the years and look forward to continuing that cooperative approach as he leads the agency.”

On May 14, 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 Sept. 29.

American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear expressed appreciation for Mullen’s service.

American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear

Spear

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 to and work with stakeholders from across the spectrum, even when making decisions we might not have completely agreed with.”

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