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Trucking Defense Archives

Federal Regulators Consider Changes to Allow for Flexibility with Hours of Service

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) expects to publish a new proposed rule in the Federal Register on August 19, 2019 that would allow for increased flexibility for drivers that are caught in delays caused by unexpected traffic or at loading docks. The publication of the proposed rule in the register starts a 45-day public comment period.

U.S. DOT to Require Drug Testing for 4 Opioids

On November 13, 2017, the Department of Transportation (DOT) published a final rule (82 FR 52229) that added hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, and oxymorphone to the federal drug testing program for drivers of commercial motor vehicles. Beginning January 1, 2018, drivers will be tested for these substances, commonly known as OxyContin®, Percodan®, Percocet®, Vicodin®, Lortab®, Norco®, Dilaudid®, and Exalgo®. The DOT drug testing panel already includes marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, phencyclidine (PCP), and opiates.

FMCSA Withdraws Proposal to Increase Minimum Insurance Level for Truck Drivers

The current liability insurance minimum for commercial motor carriers is $750,000. This amount was set by Congress in 1980. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has the authority to establish a minimum at or above the level set by Congress. In November, 2014, the FMCSA published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) that sought input from carriers, insurers, brokers, and other interested parties about the effects of raising the minimum liability insurance level. On June 2, 2017, the FMCSA announced the withdrawal of the ANPR because of insufficient feedback.

Truck Driver Training Rules Become Law

In 2012, Congress mandated the establishment of national training standard changes for the operators of commercial motor vehicles as part of a highway bill. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a new rule on December 8, 2016. After a 5-month delay for regulatory reviews, the rule setting new national training standards has become law as of June 5, 2017. There is a 3-year compliance window. Carriers, trainers, and others will have until February, 2020 to comply with the new law. The rule applies only to Commercial Drivers' License (CDL) applicants who receive CDLs on or after February 7, 2020.

U.S. Court of Appeals to Decide Upon Challenge to Electronic Logging Device Mandate

The Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced in December, 2015 that it will require truck drivers to use electronic logging devices ("e-logs") by the end of 2017. The Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), a trucking association / lobbying group that represents small business truck drivers, filed a lawsuit seeking to bar the government from enforcing the new rule. A 3-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago heard oral arguments in the case on September 13, 2016. The decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals will determine if the mandate is enforced as of December, 2017.

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