We've seen quite a few changes in trucking regulations already this year. Some rules have been postponed, others removed, a couple added, and a big one is still on the way. Below is a look at the 5 regulations that could affect your trucking business the most.
1. ELD Mandate
Of course, Electronic Logging Devices are what's on most people's minds. Come Dec. 18, every carrier will be required to have ELDs in their trucks, which the driver will use for their hours-of-service (HOS) logs. Some drivers think it's an overreach by Big Brother, while other owner-operators see it as an added expense and obstacle that could put them out of business. Most hope that the Trump administration will do away with it.
So far, we haven't seen anything to suggest that it's going anywhere. President Trump's executive order to freeze new regulations applied to proposed rules like speed limiters, but the ELD mandate is already law. Most of the big carriers have been using ELDs for years – organizations like the ATA support the ELD mandate – so it's small carriers and owner-operators who will be most affected by the law.
Back in November, Todd Spencer, executive vice president of OOIDA, pointed out to Overdrive Magazine that the political climate hasn't changed so much since the ELD mandate was first introduced.
"We've had Republican control of both the Senate and the House for quite a while," he explained. "Unfortunately, the ELD rule was pushed through by Republicans in Congress, even some Tea Party Republicans."
The FMCSA announced that they're postponing the new rules that would measure a carrier's Safety Fitness Determination. Most carrier associations opposed the SFD because the guidelines were based on safety data they considered to be flawed.
3. New Food Safety Rules
New standards for transporting food went into effect in April. For now, the new rules only apply to large companies, and everyone else has until April 2018 to comply. You can click here to see if your company is exempt.
4. HOS: 34-Hour Restart
The 2013 version of the 34-hour restart rule required that drivers be off duty for two periods from 1:00 to 5:00 AM in order to reset their hours of service. You could also only use the restart once per week. A recent study of the rules determined that they weren't any safer, so those are now gone for good.
5. Final Stage of MC Numbers Rule Suspended
The Unified Registration System will eliminate docket numbers (MC numbers) for carriers and brokers (FF numbers, etc), identifying them solely by their DOT number. While NEW carriers and brokers are now required to use the URS, the final phase will apply to EXISTING carriers and brokers. That final stage is on hold for now.