At the start of 2017, a Presidential Executive Order was issued that required all government agencies to form a Regulatory Task Force to evaluate current regulations and propose necessary changes. Trucking crash lawyers reveal here that many regulations in the commercial carrier industry are being reviewed.
While it is everyone’s goal is to reduce trucking crashes, there are still concerns over not enough regulation in some instances and too much in others. This year, trucking crash attorneys and the industry as a whole are paying particular attention to expected and potential changes in the regulations discussed below.
The 34-Hour Restart Rule
Hours of Service or HOS laws designed to reduce trucking crashes have been a point of debate for many years. This is due in part to some vague language within the 34-hour restart rule. Although this rule is not currently in effect, trucking crash lawyers say it has been clarified with the passage of a Continuing Resolution (CR).
The resolution states that if safety research determines the rule is beneficial for promoting the health and safety of drivers and reducing accidents, it will to into effect automatically.
Electronic Logging Devices
In December 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) finalized a rule stating that all trucks built in 2000 or later and used in interstate commerce must have electronic logging devices installed. The compliance date for carriers and drivers is December 17, 2017. Those already using automatic onboard recording devices have until December 2019 to comply.
A joint proposal by the FMCSA and the NHTSA asks that all heavy trucks have speed control devices installed and all new trucks be manufactured with this device included. Due to considerable debate over the rule and the fact that as of yet no actual speed limit has been determined, trucking crash attorneys state this proposal is still being discussed and likely will be for some time.
Rest Break Exemptions
There is still an ongoing debate over paid rest and meal breaks for drivers, which currently allows individual states to apply their own rules. Lobbyists within the trucking industry have tried before to have this rule standardized, but the requests have failed. They are petitioning once again to pass exemptions to prevent states from applying their own meal and rest regulations. The hope is to get the federal government to regulate rest and meal break issues.
Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA)
Trucking crash lawyers are aware that the FMCSA's CSA program will also undergo some changes this year. The agency has proposed changing the BASIC scoring system to require three rather than two truck crashes or violations for a carrier to receive a negative score and only include incidents in the last 12 months.
Considering the amount of controversy both for and against the various aspects of this rating system that truck crash attorneys frequently use to illustrate driver negligence, this will become and remain a heated issue.
Food Transport Safety Standards
New FDA regulations on the handling and transport of food went into effect on June 6, 2017. Carriers that transport perishable food for humans or animals are now required to adhere to increased trailer sanitation and cleaning regulations, monitor the temperature and humidity levels inside their trailers, and keep records for at least one year.
Preventing truck crashes is not as easy as it may seem. Trucking crash lawyers understand that any rules and regulations regarding this industry must be carefully analyzed and researched to determine if they are truly helpful. This process often results in frequent changes and adjustments to current regulations, especially when the trucking industry itself speaks out or when congressional rules regarding safety regulations change.
Truck crash attorneys agree that this year, as with most other years, there are a number of rules in the works to keep informed about as the debates wage on and federal safety administrations adjust laws as deemed necessary!
Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
Robert W. Hildebrand, Attorney at Law
J. Daniel Wilson, Attorney at Law
7830 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
Phone: (281) 408-2190