2017: A Year in Review
2017 has been a big year for the trucking industry, and included a lot of changes. The year started off with a presidential issuance of a regulatory freeze, which stifled a few minor regulations that were in the works under the previous administration. The order also placed the FMCSA’s speed limiter mandate on the back-burner, but did not rescind it outright, which means that they could possibly resume work on it at any time; however, that seems unlikely. We also saw an expansion of how the DOT conducts its on-site compliance reviews with the addition of carrier and employee interviews. The FMCSA also unveiled the Crash Preventability Demonstration Program and extensive ELD exemptions. In addition to new rules, they also withdrew a couple big ones that had been highly critiqued: the Safety Fitness rule and 34-hour restart regulation. Following Hurricane Harvey, the FMCSA temporarily lifted regulations in 26 states to allow truckers to deliver goods and fuel to affected areas. Then there was, of course, the ELD mandate, which has been highly debated since its announcement. In June, the U.S. Supreme court chose not to hear a case against the DOT in regard to the mandate, and upheld the compliance date of December 18th.
The FMCSA very heavily pushed not only safety, but education as well. To help relieve some of the burden, and give the states more autonomy, they awarded over $70 million dollars in grants for states and educational facilities. These rulings along with the grants are an attempt to keep drivers and the public safe, and improve road conditions nation-wide. Keep in mind, most of the changes that were released or approved this year will not take effect until 2019, or even 2020.
Outside of the DOT, there were even more big changes. Swift and Knight, two giants in the industry, announced a merger that gave Swift shareholder 54% of the company and Knight shareholders the remaining 46%. Walmart instituted fees for both early and late deliveries. The EPA rolled back regulations on glider kit emissions. Tesla unveiled their new semi designs, which many think will revolutionize the industry. 2017 was a year filled with a lot of big changes, and I am sure 2018 will be much the same.
Have a happy New Year!
Written by: Shayla Powers