A Look at Transportation Regulations in 2019


Many changes in transportation regulations are coming this year that we’d like to make sure you are aware of.

The Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate, which made it illegal for truck drivers to only use paper-logging books to record hours at work and mileage is now over a year old, but groups are still petitioning FMCSA for exemption from the rule. Since ELDs have been put to use, most companies have come to grips with the disruption, some even citing improved efficiencies within their transport operations.

By the end of 2019, the older generations of onboard recording devices will have to be replaced with newer versions. By December 16, 2019, all drivers and carriers subject to the rule must use self-certified ELDs that are registered with FMCSA.

The last major Hours of Service (HoS) revision occurred in 2004. This year the rules will be tweaked, focusing on 4 areas, which include:

  •      •     Expanding the current 100 air-mile “short-haul” exemption from 12 hours on-duty to 14 hours on-duty, in order to be consistent with the rules for long-haul truck drivers;
  •      •     Extending the current 14-hour on-duty limitation by up to 2 hours when a truck driver encounters adverse driving conditions;
  •      •     Revising the current mandatory 30-minute break for truck drivers after 8 hours of continuous driving; and
  •      •     Reinstating the option for splitting up the required 10-hour off-duty rest break for drivers operating trucks that are equipped with a sleeper-berth compartment.

In Congress, a bill that would lower the minimum age of 21 years for commercial truck drivers working in interstate commerce could emerge this year. The bill will allow people between the ages of 18 and 21 to get a commercial driver license once they have logged 400 hours of on-duty time and 240 hours of driving time with an experienced driver. When complete, young drivers can drive big trucks on the interstate, which will hopefully help with the driver shortage.

On January 6, 2020, a new drug and alcohol clearinghouse will go into effect. It is an electronic database containing alcohol and drug violations of commercial vehicle drivers. The clearinghouse will help to ensure that commercial vehicle drivers and the public that share the road with them are safe.

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