New rules, overdue rules, and rules long delayed
Posted December 15, 2023
The DOT plans to propose over 25 commercial vehicle safety rule changes for the public to weigh in on in 2024. Speed limiters, higher fines, and changes to driver training rules are all on the agenda, while at least one controversial rule has been pushed to the backburner.
New DOT rules changes for 2024
The following are some of the new rule changes with key actions to look out for in the new year:
- ELD update: The FMCSA will be “streamlining and improving the clarity” of its electronic logging device (ELD) rules. This update was expected in 2023 but has been delayed to October 2024.
- Speed limiters: The FMCSA intends to require the use of speed limiters on interstate CDL-class vehicles. The proposal should be out soon.
- Driver training: The FMCSA is looking to update its entry-level driver training rules to add training on sexual harassment and pedestrian/cyclist safety.
- Fines: The DOT will adjust its fines upward for inflation, making noncompliance a bit more costly.
- CDL testing: The FMCSA may make it easier for drivers to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL), in part by allowing any state to perform a driver’s skills test.
- Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse: The FMCSA intends to revise its Clearinghouse rules to improve error-correction procedures, queries, and consent requirements.
- Hair testing: The Department of Health plans to propose hair testing for federal employees, which will eventually make it an option for CDL drivers’ drug tests.
- Test refusals: The DOT plans to establish an appeals process for drivers accused of refusing a drug or alcohol test.
- Bus accessibility: The DOT will be adopting new accessibility guidelines for buses and vans under 36 CFR 1192.
- Emergency brakes: The DOT plans to require and/or establish performance standards for automatic emergency braking systems on heavy trucks.
- Brokerage: This action would amend broker rules to add transparency to transactions and contracts.
Long-term actions placed on the backburner
Equally important to these upcoming rule changes is what’s NOT on the agenda. The FMCSA has notably moved the proposal to require electronic IDs on commercial motor vehicles to its “long-term actions” list, meaning the proposal is not expecting any action in 2024. This rule proposal was opposed by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and others, who claim the rule is a major privacy intrusion for drivers.
Other long-term actions with an uncertain future include:
- A rule to remove for the need for a driver’s employment application,
- A rule clarifying the need for a tank endorsement, and
- A rule that allows buses and hazmat carriers to obey traffic control devices at railroad crossings instead of stopping at each one.
This article was written by Lucero Truszkowski of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.