When President Trump imposed Executive Order 13771 in 2017, industries across the country were preparing for deregulation. As we’ve come to find out however, cutting red tape is easier said than done. One federal rule that has come to a halt in the trucking industry is the requirement of speed limiter devices on large trucks. The push for these devices has been pressed by trucking and safety advocates for over a decade. According to research done by the US Department of Transportation (DOT), “limiting truck speeds could save between 63-214 lives per year.” In fact, in August of 2016 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) along with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed a rule that required said devices. Due to many other deregulation attempts by the Trump administration, this rule has fallen off agenda for both the NHTSA & FMCSA.
Along with the speed limiter proposal, the FMCSA has also seen a pause on the safety fitness determination rule. This rule would have determined if a carrier was fit to operate commercial motor vehicles based on the carrier’s on-road safety data, it was withdrawn in March 2017.
According to Richard Pianka, deputy general counsel for American Trucking Association, “FMCSA is working with congress to take some pressure off the ELD hostility by adding flexibility to hours-of-service rules.” While it is nice to see movement with one item on the agenda, Jennifer Hall also with the general counsel for the ATA reports that FMCSA has rescinded plans to adopt a plan for obstructive sleep apnea guidelines. Other rules that are moving slow include mandated hair-based drug testing for truck drivers and an alternative rule to make it easier for diabetic drivers to get behind the wheel.
Looking ahead, the trucking industry will see two regulations upheld by the Trump administration. In 2020, the Entry Level Driver Training rule and the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse rule are both set to go in effect. Although it seems to be taking a hefty toll on truck and safety advocates, this issue is certainly impacting more industries than just the trucking world.