As Professional Drivers, we have to deal with a large number of regulations. I’ve heard that we’re the second most regulated industry, second to the airline industry. I don’t know whether or not it’s true, but regardless, we are heavily regulated.

Walk into any truck stop, company drivers’ lounge, or social media site, and there will be truck drivers complaining about being overregulated. It’s hard to keep up with regulations. The little green regulation book seems to be outdated, as soon as the latest edition is printed. It’s hard to keep up. Complaining seems to be the best way to deal with the ever-changing landscape of rule changes we have to manage every day. 

But what if we could have a say, or give input into these regulations before they become regulations? Well, actually, we can.

Keep up on Pending Regulations

FMCSA.dot.gov is the place to go for current regulations, pending changes, or new regulations. It’s also the place to go for explanations of the regulations. You can also search carriers for safety ratings and Out Of Service violations. This is a good place to research a carrier when considering moving to another carrier.

Before any rules change, there’s always a period where they seek input from people regarding said regulation. This is a great way to voice your opinion on the regulation, whether it’s good or bad.

But Here’s the Problem

Hardly anybody comments! 

With 3 million truck drivers on the road and such easy access, commenting on some of these regulations should be through the roof. But sadly, that’s not the case. Getting comments into the 5 digit range is tough on most of these proposed changes. The funny thing is, you can go onto any social media platform and see thousands and thousands of drivers weighing in on the pending changes. Truck drivers produce long paragraphs and 5-minute videos, stating the good and/or the bad ramifications of a certain change, or its wording. Why then, do so few comment in the forum that could actually do something about it? I guess that’s the 5 million dollar question. 

It can’t be because of access. If you’re complaining on social media, there’s obviously access to the internet. Just pop over to FMCSA and drop a thought. 

It can’t be because of time. If we have time to open Facebook and type out a post about H.O.S. changes, then we certainly have time to go to FMCSA and type out an opinion.

It can’t be because of ignorance of the changes. Trucker radio, the CB, and truck stops are full of people talking about any pending changes. They found out somewhere!

So What do We do?

Simple. Get involved. Take a few minutes and read up on future changes and pending regulations. Then respond. 

Make sure to do so kindly, politely, and respectfully. You can be forceful and get your point across, without coming off as angry. That usually ends up with people just passing by your comments. Be thoughtful and direct with what you have to say. Try to keep it short and concise. Wordy responses can be skimmed over.

Speaking of lengthy responses, this is getting a little lengthy, too. So get involved (I’ve left the link to FMCSA in this article 4 times for easy access and a not-so-subtle hint) and stay involved. Things may not go the way we want, but if we don’t let the right folks know, it definitely won’t!

 

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Clark W Reed

Clark Reed of Roscoe, Illinois is an OTR company driver and trainer for Nussbaum Transportation based out of Hudson, Illinois. He has been driving since 2005 and has driven van, reefer, and tanker. He currently hauls dry van to all lower 48 states. Clark is passionate about MPGs and how driver habits influence them. The lifetime average of his 2018 Cascadia is 9.75 mpg, with eyes on 10. Clark, along with Henry Albert, was one of the seven drivers in 2017's "Run on Less" by NACFE, a road show, demonstrating what fuel efficiency can be obtained with existing technologies.

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