Top 10 Rules for Truckers in 2016

FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety) published an article last week mentioning the top 10 rules that will play a major role for truckers and shippers in 2016. With these regulations, the government will have more control over shippers, truckers, receivers and transportation intermediaries (brokers and freight forwarders).

Truckers now have 90 days to report suspected coercion with all the evidence as possible. Penalties will be applied to those drivers who are found guilty of hiding important information. Fines are up to $10,000.

1. Compliance, Safety, Accountability program (FMCSA)

The Compliance, Safety, Accountability program, or CSA, designed to help the FMCSA and state law enforcement proactively enforce regulations in as real-time as possible utilizing data collected by states and transmitted to federal databases, aims at tightening the driver pool by preventing the hire of drivers with poor safety records. It is considered, in terms of its scope and potential impact, as the most important truck-safety program since the Commercial Driver’s License was introduced in 1986.

 2. Hours-of-service (FMCSA)

The main purpose of the HOS rule is to prevent accidents caused by driver fatigue by limiting the number of driving hours per day, and the number of driving and working hours per week. Fatigue is also prevented by keeping drivers on a 21- to 24-hour schedule, maintaining a natural sleep/wake cycle (or circadian rhythm). Drivers are required to take a daily minimum period of rest, and are allowed longer “weekend” rest periods to combat cumulative fatigue effects that accrue on a weekly basis.

3. Electronic Logging Devices (FMCSA)

The upcoming mandatory use of ELDs or onboard computers to complete driver logs to help the FMCSA enforce its driver HOS rules and improve the accuracy of the CSA through cleaner inspection results is a rule that could have far-reaching implications for truck capacity, rates and costs. An electronic on-board recorder can be thought of as an automated electronic log book; an EOBR records the same information as a manual paper log book, and requires less input from the driver. However, the ELDs will also provide trucking companies and shippers with a wealth of data that will help increase productivity over time by better managing drivers and getting more utilization from trucks.

 4. Driver training (FMCSA)

Earlier this year, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration closed its comment period for developing new driver training regulations that would apply to new drivers working on their commercial driver’s license or existing drivers updating theirs. Presently, Federal regulators are proceeding with a negotiated rule-making on minimum national truck-driver training standards, and the negotiators as a committee will consider minimum training requirements, including length of classroom instruction and on-the-road experience; accreditation versus certification of commercial driver’s license training programs and schools; curricula for passenger, property and hazardous materials carriers; instructor qualifications, and more.

5. Driver coercion (FMCSA)

In the days ahead, a shipper or consignee may not be able to tell a trucking company to deliver a load within a certain narrow time window or face penalties or loss of business anymore. Trucks 006

6. Drug and alcohol test database (FMCSA)

In February, the FMCSA said it would prepare an official clearinghouse of driver drug and alcohol test data. Presently, driver recruiters have access only to their own company’s drug tests, and with this loophole drivers can evade detections by switching employers and getting retested.

 7. Greenhouse gas emissions standards (EPA/NHTSA)

The EPA expect that standards introduced for model years 2014-2018 would save $50 billion in fuel costs, 530 million barrels of oil, and 270 million metric tons of carbon emissions over the lifetime of the heavy-duty vehicles. In June, the EPA and NHTSA published Phase 2 GHG and fuel economy standards for heavy trucks that will be implemented in model years 2021-27. Those rules will make even deeper cuts in emissions and improve fuel economy, but raise the cost of trucks by tens of thousands of dollars, affecting the availability of truck capacity.

 8. Speed limiters/electronic stability controls (FMCSA/NHTSA)

For several years now, the FMCSA and NHTSA have been working on a speed limiter proposal. Since 2006, the American Trucking Associations has been calling for speed limiters on trucks and wants tractor-trailers limited to a top speed of 65 miles per hour. In June, the NHTSA issued a final rule requiring electronic stability controls on heavy trucks by 2017.  Those ESC controls will reportedly save up to 49 lives and prevent up to 1,759 crashes a year.

 9. Food Safety Modernization Act (FDA)

Essentially, those FDA rules will require much tighter control of foods, including ingredients, and monitoring of temperature-controlled conditions as foods move from origin to consumer through the supply chain. The rules require carriers, shippers and receivers of food intended for humans and animals to use proper refrigeration during shipment; thoroughly clean containers, trailers or railcars between shipments; ensure that food shipments are properly segregated from non-food shipments; maintain adequate records; and provide proper training. While these are all good procedures, they will certainly come at a substantial cost.

 10. Driver pay (FMCSA)

The FMCSA believes how well drivers are compensated may affect their behavior in a way that could compromise highway safety, and is studying the issue for future regulation. As most interstate truck drivers in the U.S. are paid by the mile, some safety advocates argue that compensation model encourages drivers to violate federal hours-of-service rules that limit driving time and work while fatigued in order to drive more miles and make more money.

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