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Understanding the Regulatory Environment Post-ELD Compliance Deadline

For more than four years, the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate has been front and center as the major regulatory topic of the trucking industry. With the ELD compliance date now behind us, there are several other regulatory items that fleets should be aware of.

Dave Osiecki, president of Scopelitis Transportation Consulting and former executive vice president & chief of national advocacy for the American Trucking Associations, recently gave an overview of the regulatory landscape at Trimble’s 2019 in.sight user conference + expo.

We detail this presentation below, highlighting a few of these regulatory hot topics and changes out of Washington:

 

CDL Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse

The clearinghouse will be a central repository for all CDL drivers’ DOT drug and alcohol program violations. All parties involved in the drug and alcohol testing process for CDL holders will be required to register, including fleets, medical review officers, and drivers. There is no fee for any party to register in the system. Beginning Jan. 6, 2020, fleets will be required to query the system when hiring, and annually for all CDL drivers they employ. There will be a fee to carriers for each system query, with a flat rate of $1.25 whether it’s a limited or full query. Bundled pricing options will be available to meet various business needs.

While some carriers have asked for better safety protections from a system like this for years, critics are concerned with higher costs, greater administrative burdens and a slower hiring process.

 

New Entry-Level Driver Training Rules

The new entry-level driver training rules will take effect in February 2020, with new training applicable to those applying for CDLs, CDL upgrades, or S/P/H endorsements. Applicants will be required to obtain training from a certified training provider in order to take the CDL skills test.

The verdict on this rule is still out. While a higher bar of entry could impact the supply of potential licensed drivers, and training is likely to be costlier, it may result in higher professionalism and a multitude of safety benefits for everyone.

 

Proposed HOS Changes

While just a proposal at this point, suggested changes include adjustments to the 30-minute rest break rule, changes to the sleeper berth rule, changing the 14-hour running clock rule to allow pausing, or stopping, between 30 minutes and 3 hours for a break time, a change in the short-haul driver exception to 150 air miles and 14 consecutive hours, and an adverse driving conditions exception.

It was noted these changes are deeply political and will take a great deal of time before anything is finalized, and litigation is almost certain if changes are made.

 

CSA Changes

A new scoring model has been recommended by an independent study conducted in 2017. The revised model may have fewer BASICS and would likely focus on violations that matter in terms of safety as opposed to non-safety violations such as paperwork violations. The process to get to a new model will take more time and public engagement will be likely.

 

Under-21 Driver Initiatives

This is not seen as a near-term reality, although there is a pilot program currently in place allowing 18- to 20-year-old drivers with military experience to obtain CDLs. Osiecki doubts Congress will act on a broader change.

 

Getting Your Fleet Ready for Changing Regulations

While some changes like the CDL Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse and Entry-Level Driver Training Rules will go into effect in the very near term, other proposed changes will take much more time. Now is a good time for you and your fleet to think about:

  • Checking your ELD and drug & alcohol policies
  • Start thinking about how self-driving trucks could assist your business someday
  • Pay attention in the new year to proposed changes for HOS and CSA, and contribute to public commenting periods

Interested in learning more about how Trimble can help your fleet navigate the regulatory landscape? Click here to discover some of our solutions aimed at ensuring your fleet and driver’s compliance.