Safety & Compliance


5 trucking takeaways from Trump’s first two weeks

 A freshly inaugurated President Trump acted swiftly upon assuming the Oval Office to take broad strikes at federal regulation on private industry. Between those actions and other orders, Trump’s pen has received a workout — and the news cycle has been dizzying.

Here are the key trucking takeaways from Trump’s first two weeks in office.

Driver training rule delayed — sort of: One of the first actions from Trump was a memorandum to federal agencies freezing new regulations. The only trucking regulation directly impacted by the memo is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s December-published Entry-Level Driver Training rule. The rule was two weeks out from its scheduled effective date, thus falling under Trump’s regulatory freeze. FMCSA has delayed the effective date to March 21, pending a review by the new administration. The rule’s compliance date — Feb. 7, 2020 — has not been changed, however. 

Speed limiter rule’s as good as dead, source says: Trump’s anti-regulation policies will likely mean the end of the U.S. DOT’s push to require speed limiters on heavy-duty trucks, says Joe Rajkovacz, head of regulatory affairs for the Western States Trucking Association. Two DOT agencies — FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — teamed up to develop a rule to require all new trucks to be equipped with speed limiters and to retroactively require existing trucks to use the devices too. The rule had only been issued in a proposed form and was likely years away from becoming law anyway, but Trump is likely the “death knell” for the speed limiter mandate, says Rajkovacz. 

Chao’s aboard: Though contention surrounds some of Trump’s other Cabinet picks, DOT Secretary Elaine Chao sailed through the Senate confirmation process with little ado. Chao was confirmed to run the Department of Transportation via a 93-6 vote Wednesday. Trump must still nominate a new administrator for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and other DOT agencies. Those nominees must also be confirmed by the Senate. Trump has given no indication as to when he plans to begin filling such positions. 

ELD mandate unchanged, even with regulatory freeze: Though Trump’s regulatory freeze blocks new regulations from being enacted, it does not affect those already made law, such as the DOT’s ELD mandate. Most industry analysts say the compliance date for the ELD mandate will come as scheduled — Dec. 18, 2017. Trump’s freeze bars only new regulations and delays those published but not yet effective. The ELD mandate became law December 2015, but it gave carriers and drivers a two-year compliance window. In this case, the law was already effective, but the compliance date was not. The ELD mandate was also a law stipulated by Congress and executed by FMCSA, so it likely would take an act of Congress to scrap the rule. 

Trump orders two regs out for every new: Though its efficacy has been debated, Trump issued a second major regulatory order a week after the regulatory freeze. It requires federal agencies to propose two regulations to be revoked for every new regulation proposed or enacted.

FMCSA Initiates Annual Drug and Alcohol Information Survey

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has begun notifying selected truck and bus companies that they will be required to submit their 2016 USDOT drug and alcohol testing program results within 60 days as directed by 49 CFR § 382.403.

The Annual Drug and Alcohol Information Survey results are used to determine the random testing rates for the following year.

Carriers notified by FMCSA that they have been selected to complete the annual survey are required to respond by March 15, 2017. Failure to respond may result in civil penalties.

Click here for more information on USDOT/FMCSA drug and alcohol testing rules and regulations.

Drivers and carriers with further questions should contact FMCSAdrugandalcohol@dot.govEmail links icon or call 202-366-4844.