Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Lighter Load: Rulemaking bottleneck cleared; lots of rules, rumors abound

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Rules have started to pour out after bottleneck cleared. (The Trucker: ROB NELSON)
Rules have started to pour out after bottleneck cleared. (The Trucker: ROB NELSON)

Lions and tigers and rules, oh my!

Wait. Actually none of this stuff is as scary as the rumors that surround it.

Hours of Service, CSA 2010, a texting ban, and an EOBR mandate, these are the things that I hear about when I talk to truckers. Of course, there are other rules out there making their way through the docket, but for the sake of space, I’m just going to talk about those you talk with me about.

When will it all stop?

Well, the news is that it’s unlikely going to stop anytime soon. While there was a lull in rulemakings after President Barrack Obama’s inauguration, which is common when there’s a change in the White House, especially a party change, those rules that were stalled are now moving forward.

Not only that, but besides the texting ban rule that was already announced, and the electronic on-board recorder mandate that was announced in April, additional rules on these two issues are supposed to be announced later this year.

In fact, as to the EOBR rule, Anne Ferro, FMCSA administrator, said it would be for a “broader population” of commercial motor carriers.

My somewhat educated guess it that the EOBR rule will cover hazmat carriers, motor carriers with passengers and new entrants in the next go-around. And sometime in the future the industry may be forced to go with EOBRs in every truck to monitor Hours of Service, or who knows, it could happen with the next rulemaking.

And in regard to the other rule, the one expected this summer that will “address the use of cell phones in commercial vehicles” as per the Department of Transportation, I expect something along the lines of a no hand-held cell phones while driving rule. I mean, they have already banned texting, so there’s nothing left to do there and they say another rule is on the way dealing with cell phones so it only makes sense that they are going to in some way limit talking on them while driving.

As for CSA 2010, I don’t know a lot about that one, but I have heard some wild rumors on it. For the truth, go to the regulations button on thetrucker.com and read all about CSA 2010. We do know that the start date is Nov. 30 instead of in July. But they will go back three years for driver records and that’s already in place. Kevin Jones, The Trucker’s resident expert on CSA 2010, tells me that a lot of drivers are concerned about losing their jobs, but he said only the worst drivers need worry about that. And, he said, data on carriers will be available at DOT inspection stations so those companies with a lot of violations are going to draw the ire of inspectors and that most likely a truck that rolls through from a “bad” company will be looked over with more scrutiny than one in which there are few or no violations.

And we are also watching for any information on the Hours of Service rule. FMCSA held five listening HOS sessions, including one at the Mid-America Trucking Show in March, where Ferro sat in, listened intently and took notes.

The overriding word we have heard coming from these sessions is flexibility. And while drivers want more control over their hours and when they can take breaks, Ferro said they were looking into how they would enforce it. And then there’s pesky Public Citizen and other groups that keep going after every HOS rule that is issued. They appear to want drivers to be limited to only 10 hours behind the wheel as it used to be and less time per day to work, among other things. I’ve never been able to find out exactly what it is they want, just that they don’t want what FMCSA has been doing.

Beyond my theories and the truth as we know it, I do want to offer some advice to all of those who are reading this. Don’t get caught up in rumors and scare tactics. Find out the truth about what’s going on. Read The Trucker in print and on thetrucker.com where we do our best to keep our readers informed on the things they most need to know.

And if you don’t see the information you need at either of those places, call us, or e-mail us and we’ll find out for you.

Isn’t that better than the unknown or worse yet, the rumors?      

Barb Kampbell of The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at barbkampbell@thetrucker.com.


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