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What to Expect with DOT Trucking Regulations in 2019

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What to Expect with DOT Trucking Regulations in 2019

With 2018 behind us, we look back at the electronic logging device (ELD) transition, the wave of changes this stirred, including personal conveyance updates and hours of service proposed rule changes. Trump’s administration is still in office, meaning many proposed rules are still on the back-burner. However, 2019 is still expecting to be full of changes. This is a quick guide at many of the FMCSA regulatory changes coming in 2019.

For a complete detailed discussion of regulatory changes affecting the trucking industry in 2019, watch our January Safety and Regulatory Compliance Conference recording by clicking here.

ELD – AOBRD Transition

On December 16th, 2019, all “grandfathered” AOBRD devices must be transitioned to a mandate-compliant ELD. During the 2017 ELD implementation, many companies and owner-operators who decided to delay getting an ELD by installing AOBRDs are now facing another transition.

DOT Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse

FMCSA recently launched their new Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse website with information about the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse where CDL drivers and their employers will be required to use the Clearinghouse beginning January 6, 2020.

Company registration to the Clearinghouse will begin Fall 2019 where users can establish an account that will allow access to the clearinghouse once it becomes operational on January 6, 2020.

The clearinghouse rule was approved but is in a holding pattern, since the Department of Health and Human Services must develop guidelines for hair testing before DOT can change the rule.

Federal Bill HR 6 was signed into law October 24, 2018, which reaffirms that the FMCSA Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse will go into effect January 6, 2020 and that within 60 days, the FMCSA administrator must submit a status report to Congress the Clearinghouse status.

The Act mandates HHS to update Congress on implementing the process of publishing hair testing guidelines for DOT-mandated testing within 60 days of enactment of the Act, and every 180 days until guidelines are published. Until guidelines published, hair testing is not allowed for DOT-tests.

Proposed HOS Rule Changes

The long-anticipated Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration hours-of-service proposed rule has been delayed from its original release date of June 7.

A FMCSA spokesperson said in a statement: “FMCSA’s proposed rule on changes to the hours-of-service (HOS) regulations continues to be reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The timelines in the Department’s regulatory updates serve as goals for the Agency and are reflective of FMCSA’s plan to move quickly during this rulemaking process. The Agency is hopeful the rule will be published soon.”

The agency published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Aug. 23 concerning the shorthaul HOS limit, the HOS exception for adverse driving conditions, the 30-minute rest-break provision and the split sleeper-berth rule to allow drivers to divide their required rest time in the sleeper berth.

Sleep Apnea update

With 28% of commercial truck drivers likely suffering from mild to severe sleep apnea, these drivers are five times more likely to be involved in a crash, and the total cost of collisions related to apnea is estimated at $15.9 billion a year, according to research from the National Safety Council.

In March 2016, FMCSA and FRA published their proposed rule for Sleep Apnea. NTSB recommended a higher degree of sleep apnea testing. However, there was lots of industry push-back.

In August 2017, FMCSA and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) decided against moving forward on a possible regulation mandating the testing and treatment of sleep apnea for truck drivers and other transportation workers.

This is on the back-burner but not completely dead.

Speed Limiter Rule

In August 2016, FMCSA and NHTSA published their proposed rule for Speed Limiters for Trucks that would require trucks to be equipped with an operating speed limiting device. The rule has been written but the top speed has not been established – 60, 65, and 68 mph have been discussed.

There has been significant pushback from all industry segments and in July 2017, the speed limiter rule fell off short-term agendas, according to the Office of Management and Budget, due to the new administration.

This is on the back-burner but not completely dead.

CME Registry Hack

Back in December 2017, the CME Registry was hacked. Since then, they have been trying to fix the website. The ability to search for examiners was restored first. Then the ability to add new examiners was created in a new process. The examiner portal is partially restored and examiners and MEAA can upload determinations, though glitches still exist in the system. Expect more updates as they push to fully restore the CME Registration website.

For a more detailed discussion on regulatory changes from experts, including the FMCSA, join in-person or online Glostone’s free annual Trucking Safety and Regulatory Conference on January 25th, 2019. Register now for free to save your seat or receive recordings.

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02 Jan, 19

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