Trucking is a staple of the United States economy, and, without it, most industries would grind to a halt. As of 2014, 7.3 million people were employed in various parts of the trucking industry, from drivers to warehouse workers. Those numbers are on the rise, as the trucking industry is expected to double by 2020. Virtually every business relies on transporting goods. Recent regulations, however, have some drivers stressed about what the future holds.
Recent Regulation Developments
Within the trucking industry, regulations are always changing, so it’s important for drivers to stay on top of the newest laws to protect themselves and their companies. In the past year, several mandates were put in place to further regulate the trucking industry, such as driver-monitoring requirements, speed limiters, and driver coercion regulations.
Electronic Logging Devices
The electronic logging device (ELD) rule helps create a safer work environment for drivers. It also helps track, share, and manage records of duty status. The rule will require automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) be replaced by newer and more-efficient ELDs over a four-year period, ending December 18, 2017.
ELDs synchronize with the engine of the vehicle to record driving time. They automatically record any information about hours when the truck is stopped or in motion, making it easier to provide accurate hours of service. Under the new rule, ELDs must be certified, registered, and listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website.
The ELD rule impacts carriers and drivers, enforcement partners, and ELD manufacturers, and all must comply with specifications, dates, and procedures.
Driver Coercion Mandates
Coercion is when a motor carrier, receiver, shipper, or transport coordination threatens to take employment actions against, withhold work from, or retaliate with punitive measures against a driver for refusing to operate in violation of safety provisions. Unfortunately, many truckers have faced coercive practices of some companies.
For coercion to occur, three conditions must be met:
- The shipper, carrier, receiver, or intermediary requests a driver to violate provisions of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs), or Federal Motor Carrier Commercial Regulations (FMCCRs).
- The driver tells the party about the potential violation that would occur if the task was carried out.
- The party who assigned the task threatens action against the driver for refusing to take the load, regardless of the potential violation. The US Department of Transportation recognized the problem and made provisions to protect drivers from these situations. The Final Rule addresses the three key areas for coercion: preparing commercial truck and bus drivers to recognize and report incidents, giving agencies steps to respond to allegations, and imposing penalties on the companies responsible for the violations. Speed LimitersSpeed limiters have been used on individual trucks within private companies for years, but now there are proposed federal regulations that may impact the industry nationwide. The suggested speed limits of 60–68 mph would ideally increase safety and save lives; although, some driver groups feel as though they would be dangerous. The agencies are still waiting for public input before making the regulations official.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/12/24/new-federal-rules-will-make-truckers-more-monitored-than-ever/?utm_term=.a902cb80e8c5 https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/hours-service/elds/electronic-logging-devices https://www.trucks.com/2016/04/05/regulations-could-worsen-truck-driver-shortages/