Trucking Law Changes for the New Year
The early months of a new year are often embraced with an air of excitement. People reflect on the prior year’s accomplishments and shortcomings to help set goals for the new year. Some people start new diets and new exercise routines. Others focus more intently on possible improvements for work, family, and educational pursuits. Regardless, the new year is often seen as a time of renewal.
It’s also a good time to take inventory of changes outside of our control that will affect our lives in the coming months. And for those who work in highly regulated industries, the new year often involves changes in the law. The trucking industry is a perfect example.
In this article, we will discuss some of the legal changes to the trucking industry scheduled to take effect at or near the beginning of the new year.
Regulation of the Trucking Industry
Interstate trucking provides a vital function to the U.S. economy. A huge percentage of items we see every day at the store spent time being transported by a semi-truck.
However, it’s also widely known and accepted that tractor-trailer trucks and other commercial vehicles pose a significant safety risk to the motoring public. Anyone who has ever witnessed an accident involving an 18-wheeler understands the damage these massive vehicles can inflict.
As a result, the interstate trucking industry is heavily regulated. The Motor Carrier Safety Administration Act established the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in 2000.
The FMCSA seeks to prevent injuries and deaths resulting from motor carrier operations. The organization seeks to accomplish this goal in a variety of ways, including the enforcement of safety regulations. FMCSA also works with many constituencies to determine ways to improve standards, technologies, and awareness.
Thus, it is not surprising that regulations that govern truckers and trucking companies are constantly evolving. Below are a few regulations that are being updated.
New Standards for Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) for Commercial Vehicles
With unemployment levels at historic lows, many employers in many industries cannot find enough workers to fill open positions. The trucking industry fits into that category. Trucking companies have encountered difficulty finding enough truck drivers. Thus, it’s natural to seek to attract new workers into the profession.
While it’s always great to broaden a workforce, beginning February 7, 2020, entry-level drivers who seek a Class A or Class B commercial driver’s license, or seek to upgrade certain licenses or endorsements, will be required to complete a training program that meets new, higher standards. Among other things, the training covers 31 topics and includes 19 driving skills.
Compliance with Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse
By January 6, 2020, trucking companies must place their drivers’ drug and alcohol violations in a Department of Transportation (DOT) clearinghouse database and verify that the drivers have completed the necessary requirements to return to duty. The database makes it more difficult for truckers with such violations to avoid detection by simply crossing state lines.
Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Requirements
The trucking industry has slowly been transitioning to Electronic Logging Devices. ELDs track a driver’s hours of service. An FMCSA mandate requires all commercial motor carriers to use ELDs by December 16, 2019.
Call with Questions
At Nelson MacNeil Rayfield, we are happy to see the government and industry take needed steps to protect the public. Unfortunately, experience has shown that there will always be a few who ignore or fail to meet industry standards and legal requirements for safety. When they do, and cause personal injury and death as a result, we believe the law must hold them accountable for their wrongful actions.
If you have questions about an accident with a semi-truck, feel free to call us and we will be happy to answer them. And if you need help holding a wrongdoer accountable, our experienced Oregon truck accident lawyers will be here to help.