FMCSA’s Grip On The Trucking Industry Still Remains
The suspended 2013 34 hour restart rule was a big victory for the trucking industry, which Congress passed in the Omnibus Bill a few weeks ago. While the FMCSA and DOT split the fence, the trucking industry thanked Congress for the 34 hour restart rollback. With it all in the rear mirror and the industry moving toward 2015, all is well, right? While the Omnibus Bill was a success, it failed to deliver in other important areas.
What did Congress leave out in the Omnibus Bill? It all points to FMCSA. What about FMCSA insurance increase rulemaking? What about FMCSA’s deadlines for electronic logging devices? And FMCSA’s Safety Fitness Determination rule? Three important measures that were not included with the 34 hour restart rollback.
Back in June, Congress has the opportunity to make changes and failed to deliver for the trucking industry. In addition to the restart rule, Congress could have lit a fire under FMCSA for their questionable at best rulemaking. Just like increasing liability insurance minimums for carriers. The House voted on funding the DOT back in the summer and the bill included language that would have stopped FMCSA from pursuing insurance changes.
The Senate’s version of the bill included the deadlines for an ELD rule (by Jan. 30, 2015) and a Safety Fitness rule before 2015, which many in the industry are counting on to make the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program more tolerable. This same bill included the 34 hour restart suspension.
“The victory is small lived,” Bret Waller told Truckers Logic. “I’ve been a truck driver for 23 years and I’ve seen a lot of change in that time. Clearly the trucking community is a little too high on the 34 hour restart rollback. I’m more worried about my insurance, all these other rules and regulations. FMCSA makes things complicated, I just don’t see how we can view this as a win.”
We talked to several truck drivers in the past few weeks and all of them were glad to see the 34 hour restart suspension. FMCSA’s insurance rulemaking was the biggest concern and all of them had heard. If the bill was passed months ago, we may have been able to include something else with the restart suspension.
“We still have the HOS cap,” stated Bruce Hill from J.T. Trucking. “I honestly don’t understand what the point of it all was. Just a huge waste of time, money and effort if you ask me. I heard about it in the summer, I knew it wouldn’t pass. Our government today waits til the very last minute, it really makes me red.”
The great thing moving forward for the trucking industry is the Republican majority in the House and Senate. It could also be good news for the coal industry.