It’s been a busy few months on the regulatory front, and it's often hard to keep track of which proposed regulations are still moving forward and which have been shelved. Here's an update on some of the regs we've been tracking.

What's In

ELD Mandate - Despite efforts to strike down or delay the mandate requiring electronic logging devices (ELDs) on heavy-duty trucks, it appears the mandate will take effect as scheduled on December 18. Industry experts predict that the mandate will reduce overall capacity by 3% to 5%. The greatest impact will be felt by smaller carriers who have not yet converted to electronic logs, and rates may rise for one-day hauls that could spill into a second day when flexibility is removed.

What's Out

There were a number of other regulations in various stages of approval that, combined with the ELD mandate, could have delivered a one-two punch to capacity. However, the FMCSA has decided not to move forward with at least two of those, for now.

Increased screening of drivers for sleep apnea - Last week the FMCSA withdrew its Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which could have dramatically increased the number of truck drivers referred for sleep apnea testing. An analysis published in Overdrive estimated that at least one in four drivers would have been referred for screening under new criteria proposed by FMCSA's Medical Review Board. Instead, FMCSA will retain current rules that allow physicians to decide whether or not to recommend their patients for sleep apnea testing.

Speed limiters on heavy-duty trucks - Mandatory speed limiters on trucks were part of a Proposed Rulemaking in September 2016 but never finalized. CCJ reports that in the latest update to the Department of Transportation's regulatory calendar, the speed limiter mandate was removed from the active list, and is now assigned to a longer-term agenda. According to CCJ, "Given the erosion of industry support for a speed limiter rule and the Trump administration's reluctance to implement new regulations, industry stakeholders assumed the Trump DOT would drop or stall the speed limiter rulemaking. The update to the DOT calendar confirmed those expectations."

What's up in the air

Carrier Safety Fitness Determination -  This is a rule that freight brokers have wanted for years. It calls for the FMCSA to designate a carrier as either fit or unfit. Instead, the current system labels carriers as satisfactory, unsatisfactory, conditional, or unrated -- and most carriers fall into the latter, not-yet-rated category. Last month the National Academy of Sciences released a 132-page report that recommends improvements in FMCSA's carrier safety rating methodology. It’s likely that the FMCSA will need to re-organize its safety rating system before rolling out the long-awaited Carrier Safety Fitness Determination.

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Pat Pitz

Pat Pitz is the editor of the DAT Solutions freight broker newsletter. He has nearly 20 years experience as a professional writer and editor. Before joining DAT, he spent 8 years at a Portland advertising and public relations agency, where he wrote newsletters and other content for a variety of high-profile clients, including several in the trucking industry.

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