Top 7 Most Impactful Trucking Laws
The trucking industry is ever-changing and the history of trucking is very extensive. What is even more extensive, is the recent influx in regulations pertaining to trucking and overall transportation. We’ve hand-crafted a list of the most influential and relevant regulations to the trucking industry. Some you may be familiar with, and some you may not, but hopefully, you can learn something new!
7 – Hours-of-Service Regulations
Established in 1937 by Interstate Commerce Commission, the new hours-of-service regulations allow for 10 hours of driving with eight hours of off time within 24 hours. Additionally, there are 60 or 70-hour limits for seven or eight-day time frames. Time in a sleeper berth must total eight hours over two undefined periods.
These original regulations changed when FMCSA’s 2003 final rules were enacted in 2004. When Interstate Commerce Commission was dissolved in 1995, FMCSA took over and set the standard for hours of service.
Under the new 2003 ruling, driving times increased from 10 to 11 hours, and off-duty hours increased to 10 hours. Sleeper berth time now totaled 10 hours or more over two periods, each no more than two hours.
A 2005 ruling changed the sleeper berth standards to be at least eight hours consecutively, in addition to another two hours of off-duty time, bringing the total to 10 hours.
Many people are critical of the 2005 ruling, claiming that it is overly restrictive for drivers who take naps and team drivers that trade off.
In 2017, another rule was added to the collection, the 34 hours rule. This rule allowed drivers to reset their work weeks (60/70 hours in 7/8 days) after 34 hours of consecutive rest.
FMCSA did a study that showed 34 hours is the optimal rest time for truckers because it helped to reduce the number of fatigue-related accidents.
Finally, in 2020 FMCSA made additional changes and added the 7/3 hour sleep/break rule option with a mandatory 30-minute break after eight hours of consecutive driving.
6 – Commercial Motor Vehicle Act of 1986
According to Congress.gov says CMVA requires the Secretary of Transportation to promulgate regulations establishing minimum Federal standards for the licensing, testing, qualifications, and classifications of commercial motor vehicle operators, as well as additional regulations for such operators who transport hazardous materials. Sets guidelines for such standards. Establishes guidelines for civil and criminal penalties to be imposed by the States for violations of such standards. Prohibits commercial motor vehicle operators from possessing more than one operator’s license. September 1, 1989, was the deadline by which each State had to adopt and administer a classified licensing program that complied with the minimum Federal standards for commercial motor vehicle operators.
5 – Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1984
It’s no secret that the physical condition of truck drivers is key in promoting safe driving. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act, established from the Motor Carriers Safety assistance program in 1982, required the federal government to make states have consistent and compatible regulations. FMCSA focuses on rules, regulations, and standards in order to ensure commercial vehicles are being maintained, equipped, loaded, and operated safely.
4 – Electronic Logging Device Mandate
Carriers had until the end of 2017 to comply with the ELD mandate. ELDs are used for tracking your hours of service. This new electronic method replaces the outdated paper and pen method of time recording. Paper tracking was very flawed, with the biggest flaw being how carriers pushed their drivers to falsy their time to be able to drive without fear of being in violation of the hours of service rules. There are some exceptions to ELD mandates. Vehicles manufactured before 2000, driveaway-towaway drivers, and drivers who log no more than eight days during any 30-day period, are not required to use ELDs.
3 – Medical Certification Requirements
Drivers who do not have a valid medical certification are not allowed to drive and don’t even think about trying to get a fake one, the penalties for a fake certification are very steep. In 2014, Myriad medical certification rules went into effect. By law, any CDL/CLP holder must have a United States Department of Transportation-mandated physical exam. The exam must be performed by a medical professional listed on the FMCSA National Registry. If a person does not have the proper medical certification, their CDL privileges can and will be revoked. FMCSA gives advice on the proper use of medications, fitness, nutrition, and health issues commonly found in truck drivers, such as obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Seven years later, FMCSA released a draft of the Medical Examiners Handbook which is used to offer guidance to help medical examiners ensure drivers are healthy.
2 – Drug Tests and Alcohol Clearinghouse
The Federal Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is an online database that employers, state licensing, and law enforcement use to check a CDL/CLP holder’s drug and alcohol clearance. If you test positive for any drugs, even just once, it will result in being placed into “return-to-duty” status which requires you to receive counseling and mandatory testing. As of 2020, more than 100,000 drivers have received a “probation” status, a complete ban on working in the industry. There has been some controversy about drug testing, the most common form of testing is the urinalysis tests which mostly flag marijuana. Stakeholders are pushing for a hair follicle test as it tests for more drugs further back in time.
1 – Fair Labor Standard Act of 1938
Fair Labor Standard Act was established in 1938 and set the standard for overtime pay for US workers. Section 13(b)(1) of FLSA lists exemptions for employees within the authority of the Secretary of Transportation. This labor act primarily covers motor carriers, private motor carriers, drivers, drivers helpers, loaders, and mechanics.
Rules and regulations are changing daily, and it can be hard to keep up, but luckily TopMarks got you covered and we are always writing to keep you in the loop! For more articles like this, subscribe to our weekly newsletter!
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