Transportation Industry in 2017 – Rules and Regulations

2017 Rules & Regulations

The end of 2016 was a tad hectic when it came to following updates on the various rules and regulations impacting the transportation industry. We witnessed the passing of the Entry-Level Minimum Training Requirements and Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse final rules, while the Overtime rule was blocked.

Rules and regulations impacting the trucking industry will continue to be a hot topic going into 2017 with many slated to take effect during the year. Here is a list of the ones to watch.

Electronic Logging Device Mandate

The Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate was passed in December 2015 and is set to become effective in December 2017. However, it has been speculated that the new administration will overturn the ruling.

If carried through, the ELD mandate will require drivers and carriers who are using paper logs or logging software to transition to ELDs by Dec. 18, 2017. Carriers and drivers who use AOBRDS prior to the compliance date must transition to ELDS no later than Dec. 16, 2019.

Additionally, drivers of vehicles manufactured before 2000 are exempt from the ELD mandate.

Hours of Service Regulation

In July 2013, the controversial Hours-of-Service (HOS) regulation was put into place. According to the FMCSA, after a 70-hour workweek, drivers were required to rest for 34 hours and must include two periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. of home terminal time. This reportedly resulted in a three to five percent decrease in productivity.

In December 2016, Congress “fixed” the 34-hour restart rule by reverting back to the pre-July 2013 restart shifts. This means truck drivers are no longer required to include the two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. resting periods in their schedule. The American Trucking Association President and CEO Chris Spear has praised the fix.

Speed Limiters

In August 2016, the NHTSA and FMCSA proposed the use of speed limiters in trucks to cap speeds at either 60, 65, or 68 mph.

The American Trucking Association, which supports reducing speeds, opposed the proposal since it is not clear how a menu of top speeds will work when passenger vehicles are traveling much faster on the same roads. The ATA supports a national speed limit of 65 mph for all vehicles.

This rule could too be blocked by President-Elect Trump.

Safety Fitness Determination

In March 2016, the FMCSA extended the initial comment period on its proposed revision of the Safety Fitness Determination rule from May 23 to June 23.

On January 13, 2017, the FMCSA filed an update to its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding the safety fitness determination methodology. The Administration announced, “In order to thoroughly evaluate and possibly incorporate comments received,” and to address recommendations from the NAS study concerning the CSA program, a supplemental notice will be necessary.

The proposal has been highly controversial, so it will be interesting to see how everything unfolds in 2017.

Unified Registration System

The Unified Registration System (URS) had an original implementation date of September 30, 2016. This was pushed to January 14, 2017, and has now been extended once again due to additional time being needed to securely migrate the data. The deadline was extended indefinitely as noted in an FMCSA Final Rule.

Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards

Phase 2 of the greenhouse gas and fuel economy regulations became effective Dec. 27, 2016. This phase builds upon Phase 1, which was passed in 2007, by “encouraging the wider application of currently available technologies and the development of new and advanced cost-effective technologies through model year 2027.”

When the standards are fully phased in, tractors in a tractor-trailer combination are expected to achieve up to 25% lower carbon dioxide emissions and fuel consumption than an equivalent tractor in 2018. However, it is expected that the new administration will overturn the rule.

Truck Writers aims to keep its partners in the transportation industry up-to-date on the latest rules and regulations impacting the industry.

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