Regulatory Roundup

The latest on regulations that affect the trucking industry

ELDs required on all trucks by December 2017

In December 2015, the FMCSA issued its final rulemaking requiring all heavy duty trucks to use electronic logging devices (ELDs) by December 16, 2017. After that date, drivers will be required to use ELDs to log their hours of service. Learn more:

CSA scores removed from public view

The highway funding bill that the federal government passed in December 2015 directed the FMCSA to remove certain CSA data from public view. Data removed included carriers' scores in the 7 Behavior Analysis & Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs). The bill requires FMCSA to keep scores hidden until a report is completed and recommendations are made for improvement.

Hours of Service changes temporarily suspended

In July 2013, the FMCSA made changes to drivers' Hours of Service (HOS) that included two controversial requirements:

  1. That drivers be off duty from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. on two consecutive nights before restarting their weekly work clock.
  2. That 168 hours (7 days) must pass before a driver can use the 34-hour restart.

A spending bill passed by the federal government in December 2014 included a rollback of these two controversial rules. It also directed the FMCSA to study the safety and economic impact of the rules. The rollback remains in place while the FMCSA continues its study.

MC numbers to be replaced by Unified Registration System

For years, the FMCSA has used docket numbers, such as MC (motor carrier), FF (freight forwarder) and MX (Mexican carrier) to identify carriers, brokers, freight forwarders and more. After the FMCSA's new Unified Registration System (URS) becomes fully effective, entities will be identified only by their USDOT number. New applicants are required to use the online URS system now. However, for existing companies, the FMCSA announced in January 2017 that it is putting the requirement on hold until it can successfully migrate data from old systems into the new central database.

New rule prohibits driver coercion

A new regulation prohibits carriers, brokers, shippers and receivers from coercing drivers to violate hours of service or other regulations in order to make their deliveries. The rule, which went into effect on January 29, 2016, also sets fines of up to $16,000 for those found to have coerced a driver.

Increase in carrier liability insurance

For years, the FMCSA has been suggesting that the amount of liability insurance required by carriers needs to be increased. The agency contends that the current $750,000 liability insurance requirement—in place since 1985—has not kept up with inflation and the rising cost of medical care. This issue is a concern because a significant increase in the cost of insurance could hurt small carriers and could even push many of them out of business. The 5-year highway bill that passed in December 2015 did not require any immediate increase in liability insurance for carriers. Instead, it directed the FMCSA to conduct further study. The issue is by no means dead, but it is delayed for now.