Trucking Industry Regulations

Trucking Industry Regulations to Watch Out for in 2024

JJ Singh

Although highways are laid out and will experience little to no change, the regulations governing freight traversing these roads constantly change. The trucking industry is one of those and is quite dynamic as a business. Whether sustainability, safety, or security, drivers and truckers must constantly adapt to keep up with these changes.

The same will be true in 2024, which some experts call the year of regulations. This should be no surprise, considering it is the year with the most elections in recent world history. Governments across the globe will be looking to make policy changes, and the United States is no exception. With trucking being a localized freight industry, it would be heavily influenced by U.S. policies and regulations.

Keeping up with these regulations can be difficult, mainly because of their nuances and the different government bodies pushing each of them. Luckily, you can get all the details from us here at EKA.

This newsletter will explore five trucking regulations you must know about in 2024.

What’s Behind the Regulatory Push in the Trucking Industry for 2024?

Although regulations can be a pain, they are often necessary. So, while it is uncomfortable, take a moment to remember that the regulatory bodies overseeing the trucking industry have legitimate reasons to implement some of these regulations.

There are three primary areas of concern for regulatory bodies such as the FMCSA & DOT. They are:

Safety Concerns

Although there have been a lot of improvements in the trucking industry, accidents and crashes still abound, and in more cases than we would like, lives in their thousands have been lost yearly. Many of these trucks transport sensitive products like hazmat, which can be fatal to many people.

With the new policies, the regulatory bodies will seek to reduce that number drastically and, if possible, eradicate it altogether. Considering many of these accidents and crashes are avoidable, we may have it that way with the right push.

Part of ensuring truck safety involves dealing with the most critical and fundamental element of the trucking ecosystem -- the drivers. These policies ensure that the drivers have the right skills and are in the right health and mind to take on their driving duties.

This approach will go a long way to curb human recklessness, a major contributor to trucking accidents and crashes.

Environmental Concerns

Environmental sustainability is still the hottest topic globally, and regulatory bodies will look to make headway in 2024. Heavy-duty trucks rely on diesel or fossil fuels, emitting a sizably large carbon footprint. Although there are not a lot of electric trucks out on the highways, regulators and policymakers are increasingly eager to promote electric vehicles, doing so via environment-friendly policies.

Five Trucking Regulations to Know in 2024

Policies are not a new phenomenon in the heavily regulated trucking ecosystem. That said, policies introduced are rarely as ground-breaking as, say, the ELD mandate. Most policies are little tweaks to existing regulations.

Although there are many trucking regulations to note, especially on a local level, only five can seriously impact your trucking operations, and we will focus on those in this article.

1.  FMCSA Safety Measurement System (SMS) Updates

This may be the most significant policy change for commercial drivers and the trucking industry. The FMCSA's Safety Measurement System (SMS) was significantly changed in 2024. Before now, detailed safety data on property carriers was publicly accessible.  However, with the new regulation, that is no longer the case.

The new system prioritizes providing private actionable data for carriers, which is expected to help improve safety. With the new FMCSA update came a new prioritization methodology. Although it is still under development, it will aim to identify high-risk carriers and promptly intervene before things get out of control.

Although the new methodology is replacing the CSA scores we are all used to, it will consider a broader range of safety factors. During this transition, the FMCSA hopes to emphasize transparency and communication by offering resources and encouraging carrier feedback to ensure a user-friendly and effective system.

Public access will be restricted for the new system, but the changes will allow the body to remain committed and enforce public safety better.

2. CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse: Return to Duty Process

Under the new regulations, the FMCSA hopes to have a better grip on driver's drug and alcohol violations. Drivers with such violations will be given the prohibited status in the FMCSA's drug and alcohol clearinghouse.

However, more than tracking violations, the clearinghouse platform also helps facilitate the return-to-duty (RTD) process for commercial drivers who have violated drug and alcohol regulations.

In keeping with this, drivers must undergo an assessment by a certified professional, complete a treatment program, and pass a return-to-duty drug test before regaining driving privileges.

The aim is to enhance road safety but NOT make it impossible for drivers with past violations to return to duty. However, these drivers must be fit to operate a commercial vehicle safely without issues.

3. Mandatory Speed Limiters

In a shocking report by the DOT that angered drivers, brokers, and truckers across the country, the DOT is proposing speed limits for heavy-duty trucks that will limit them to about 68 mph. Although the move was supposed to improve road safety, the public certainly did not receive it well.

The DOT was poised to release a report in December 2023 that would clarify the move, but the fine details are still being ironed out, and the anticipated report is now expected to be released in May 2024.

However, here are some of the details we know so far.

  • The initial report mentioned a mandatory speed limit of 68 mph but was quickly redacted. The final proposal coming in May will determine the exact speed limit.
  • This regulation is expected to apply only to heavy-duty trucks equipped with electronic engine control units (most likely those over 26,000 pounds and manufactured post-2003).
  • The official timeline is not yet known to the general public. Maybe to the policymakers as well, but we are sure of one thing: it will take a while to see these changes come into effect.

We know the DOT seeks to improve road safety by implementing speed management. Whether they will be successful with this depends on how determined they are about it, but we are looking forward to it.

4. Competency and Skill Testing

The FMCSA is considering a competency test for commercial drivers. Shockingly, this is a proposal they have been sitting on for about 14 years. While this is still under development, it may soon become law.

This policy will change the current training and hiring process, impacting new drivers. Regardless, carriers have invested in consistently improving driver training, and data shows that the shorter the training interval is, the fewer violations the fleets and drivers have. That said, drivers and carriers should brace themselves for a change in the training and hiring process.

5. Environmental Compliance

Sustainability is all the rage, and because the trucking industry relies heavily on fossil fuels, much of the attention will be on environmental policies in 2024. Regulatory bodies primarily aim to reduce emissions and promote better fuel efficiency within trucking operations.

Depending on how you view it, sustainability can be very profitable or troublesome for your business. One thing is sure, though: in the trucking industry, some work still needs to be done if businesses within the industry can take advantage of and promote sustainability.

How Can You Stay on Top of All These?

Change may not always be convenient, but it is definitely necessary. To make it easy enough for you, EKA Solutions has what it takes to make adopting the new policies a walk in the park. It doesn't matter if you are a carrier, broker (3PL), or trying to navigate a trucking ecosystem; EKA solutions can simplify your business and equip you to take on any regulation or policies thrown your way -- no matter how unfounded they may seem.

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