Trucking Updates: The Latest Happenings in the Industry and What You Need to Know

Hours-of-Service Reform:

Last week, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that the agency was in the process of creating a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) which would bring about major changes to Hours-of-Service regulations for truck drivers.  While exact changes that the agency is looking to reform have not yet been made available, greater flexibility for on and off-duty time was one of the initiatives FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez hinted at during a speech he made at the Omnitracs User Conference in Dallas. (1)  A NPRM was expected to publish this month but the partial government shutdown may cause a delay.

Cargo Theft Stats:

SensiGuard recently published its annual cargo theft report for the year 2018.  Findings were as follows:

*Cargo theft was down 19% from 2017, reaching a total of 592 incidents.

*Theft value decreased by 2%, averaging $142,342 per load.

*Electronics were the most common commodity stolen.

*Most thefts occurred during the 4th quarter.

*California reported the greatest number of thefts, accounting for 26% of the total.

Driving Age:

Last month, the DRIVE-Safe Act made its way back to the House and Senate, seeking to lower the driving age for interstate transport from 21 to 18, stating that the age reduction would aid in the driver shortage.  The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) opposed the act, recently sending a letter to lawmakers stating that “Younger drivers—especially teenagers—generally lack the maturity and experience to operate a commercial motor vehicle at the safest levels.  Research consistently concludes that commercial motor vehicle drivers under the age of 21 are more likely to be involved in crashes.  In some states, teenagers entering the apprentice program created by the legislation would have only recently received a full driver’s license to operate an automobile, let alone a commercial motor vehicle.” (2)

ELD Deadline Drawing Close:

This December marks the final implementation date for electronic logging devices.  While the mandate went into effect back in 2017, those utilizing automatic onboard recording devices, AOBRDs, were given until Dec. 16th, 2019 to make the switch over to ELDs.  The FMCSA’s Martinez is urging those carriers that haven’t already done so, to finalize the transition sooner rather than later, expressing that “HOS violations have dropped by 52% over the last year,” due to the implementation. (3)

Congestion Costs:

Did you know that congestion caused the industry to consume 6.87 billion gallons of fuel in 2016?

ATRI recently released a report in which it studied congestion and fuel emissions at the interchange of I-285 and I-85 in Atlanta, Georgia, finding that when traffic flowed at 55 mph, it saved nearly 4.5 million gallons of fuel annually as well as reduced emissions than when trucks traveled at a slow pace due to weekday congestion. (4)  Furthermore, only 12% of Interstate miles accounted for 89% of congestion costs, stressing that by improving this number, it would help the environment, save the industry money, and increase efficiency.

Stay tuned to for more industry updates.