159320710 | Vitpho | Dreamstime
Last fall, the U.S. Department of Transportation convened a group to begin looking at ways to address the truck parking shortage, and one trucking stakeholder places the chances of legislation to address the problem at about 70%.

New regulations: What are the odds?

May 16, 2023
Federal regulators are proposing a host of new regulations for trucking to follow. AEB systems, side underride guards, electronic IDs—what are the odds of these coming to pass?

Almost every day, there seems to be some new rule or regulation directed at the trucking industry. So if you're like me, you probably have wondered where federal trucking regulations come from.

According to Warren Hoemann, former deputy director of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and U.S. Department of Transportation, regulations come from the highway safety records of commercial motor vehicles and legislation. If you are not doing so already, you need to be working with your industry organizations, such as American Trucking Associations, and communicate with your elected officials to help them understand the challenges the trucking industry faces and how pending legislation will impact it.

See also: Safety vs. profits: The harsh realities of the modern truck inspection mindset

Hoemann was speaking at the recent Corcentric Fleet Solutions Conference in Greenville, South Carolina, to help meeting attendees understand the origins of trucking regulations. In his presentation, Hoemann talked about eight regulations affecting vehicles, drivers, and fleets.

Let's start with the regulations concerning the vehicles and delve a little deeper into each of the big three: automatic emergency braking (AEB), speed limiters, and side underride guards.

AEB trucking regulations 

Earlier this year, FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a joint proposal requiring AEB systems on heavy-duty trucks. A NHTSA study found that vehicles equipped with AEB and forward-collision warning are said to reduce crash frequency by half. AEB is already standard on most passenger cars, and Hoemann said he believes that AEBs have a 100% chance of becoming a reality for heavy-duty trucks.

Trucking speed-limiter regulations 

According to FMCSA: "The National Roadway Safety Strategy identified speed as a significant factor in fatal crashes and speed management as a primary tool to reduce serious injuries and fatalities." FMCSA has proposed a rule that "would impose speed limitations on certain CMVs that operate in interstate commerce." Hoemann sees a 75% likelihood of this proposed rule becoming law.

Underride guards regulations

In April, NHTSA issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking on side underride guards for trailers. These guards are designed to prevent a passenger vehicle from sliding underneath the trailer in the event of a crash with a tractor-trailer. In a report, NHTSA estimated that 17.2 lives would be saved each year, and 69 serious injuries would be avoided if all trailers had these guards installed. Hoemann's odds on this one are 70%.

See also: Electronic truck IDs: Safety tool or unnecessary burden?

Regulations affecting drivers include unique identification devices (UIDs), detention and delay, truck parking, and hair testing.

Electronic truck ID regulations

FMCSA is considering requiring that every truck be equipped with an electronic device that can wirelessly communicate a unique identification number when asked by a federal or state safety enforcement officer. Hoemann said this one has an 85% chance of becoming a reality.

Federal driver detention time study

At the recent Mid-American Trucking Show, FMCSA updated show attendees on its ongoing study into driver detention time. The agency plans to undertake a three-year study on how detention time impacts safety. The agency has studied this issue in the past, and this latest effort is the second phase of a study that began in 2014. One thing to note, FMCSA is changing the definition of detention time from the one used in previous studies. Will a regulatory solution be found for detention issues? Hoemann says there is a 65% chance there will be.

Truck parking shortage

Last fall, DOT convened a group to begin looking at ways to address the truck parking shortage. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the federal government is "working with state and industry leaders to develop more parking that will improve safety and quality of life for our nation's truck drivers." Hoemann placed the chances of a legislative solution to the parking shortage at 70%.

See also: Pre-Trip: Breaking down trucking regs worth watching

Truck driver drug testing

Testing hair follicles for drugs in truck drivers seems to have been talked about for quite some time. Hair testing is said to provide a longer detection window and will be a better indicator of the use of illegal substances than urinalysis. But DOT is a long way from being able to develop regulations on the matter at this time.

CSA reform

Reform of Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) scoring will affect carriers themselves, and earlier this year, FMCSA announced proposed changes to the program. Fundamental changes include reorganizing and updating safety categories, consolidating violations, simplifying violation severity weights, using proportionate percentiles instead of safety event groups, improving intervention thresholds, emphasizing more recent violations, and updating the Utilization Factor. Hoemann said there is an 85% chance that fleets will see a change to CSA.

• • •

Time will tell if Hoemann's predictions are correct, but keep in mind that the regulatory process is a slow one, so we may not see some of these changes for a while. However, if you have strong feelings about these regulatory initiatives, I again encourage you to contact your legislators to ensure your voice is heard.

Patrick Gaskins, senior VP of Corcentric Fleet Solutions, oversees both sales and operations for the company's fleet offerings. Gaskins joined the company in 2010, bringing more than 30 years of experience as a financial services professional in the transportation industry. He leads a team that works with a supply base of more than 160 manufacturers to help the country's largest fleets manage all aspects of their fleet operations and fleet-related spending.

About the Author

Patrick Gaskins | Senior vice president, Fleet Solutions

Patrick Gaskins is a financial services professional serving the transportation industry for over 30 years. Gaskins earned his BBA in Finance from the University of Miami, FL in 1989, and received his CTP certification from the National Private Truck Council in 2002. He has held positions with GE Capital, TCF Equipment Finance, and various small independent lessors. 

He began his career with Corcentric in 2010 as Vice President of Financial Services, was promoted to Senior Vice President of Sales and Operations, and is now taking the role of Senior Vice President, Fleet Solutions.  In his new role he will lead Corcentric’s Captial Equipment Solutions, Fleet Procurement, Supply Management, and Remarketing teams. Gaskins will bring to the Fleet practice his expertise in developing data driven solutions to complex transportation transactions, driving efficiencies, and reducing expenses for Corcentric’s customers.

The Fleet Solutions practice leverages technology and the purchasing power of over 1,700 member fleets operating approximately 800,000 assets to provide its members with access to cost effective national account purchasing programs, fleet financing, asset management, and remarketing services.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations

Leveraging telematics to get the most from insurance

Fleet owners are quickly adopting telematics as part of their risk mitigation strategy. Here’s why.

Reliable EV Charging Solution for Last-Mile Delivery Fleets

Selecting the right EV charging infrastructure and the right partner to best solve your needs are critical. Learn which solution PepsiCo is choosing to power their fleet and help...

Overcoming Common Roadblocks Associated with Fleet Electrification at Scale

Fleets in the United States, are increasingly transitioning from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles. While this shift presents challenges, there are strategies...

Report: The 2024 State of Heavy-Duty Repair

From capitalizing on the latest revenue trends to implementing strategic financial planning—this report serves as a roadmap for navigating the challenges and opportunities of ...