Technology Drives Rule Changes for Commercial Truckers

Technology continues to gain traction throughout the commercial trucking industry, as companies realize the efficiency it brings to operations.  At the same time, regulatory agencies recognize that technology provides accurate data that can inform or change transportation safety regulations.

In fact, data gathered from electronic logging devices (ELD) mandated in the U.S. prompted a new focus on hours-of-service (HOS) regulations that may be adversely impacting certain sectors of the economy.  As a result, U.S. regulators are taking another look at HOS rules. 

U.S. Considers Changing HOS Regulations

On August 21, 2018, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced it’s considering changes to current hours-of-service (HOS) regulations for interstate commercial truck drivers. The agency is requesting feedback from the public on these four possible revisions:

  1. Expanding the current 100 air-mile “short-haul” exemption by two hours to 14 hours on-duty, in order to be consistent with rules for long-haul truck drivers;
  2. Extending the current 14-hour on-duty limitation by up to two hours when a truck driver encounters adverse driving conditions;
  3. Changing the current mandatory 30-minute break for truck drivers after 8 hours of continuous driving; and
  4. Reinstating the option for splitting up the required 10-hour off-duty rest break for drivers operating trucks that are equipped with a sleeper-berth compartment.

According to FMCSA management, significant concern has been expressed that current rules are placing unnecessary burdens on truck drivers, especially in agriculture. The agency is, therefore willing to consider more flexibility in HOS regulations as long as safety remains the top priority.   

The FMCSA is also asking for comments on petitions filed by the Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and by TruckerNation pertaining to HOS issues. The Federal Register provides more details on the proposed ruling as well as instructions on how to submit comments.

Canada Requires ELDs by 2020

In December 2017, Canada’s Department of Transport amended its Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulations to require mandatory ELDs for federally regulated motor carriers (trucks and buses) and commercial drivers.

By 2020, it will be mandatory to report on-duty, off-duty and driving time using ELDs that meet new National Safety Code technical standards. Devices currently in use, however, will be permitted until 2022.

According to the regulatory agency, the new regulations are aligned with similar U.S. requirements and will deliver administrative cost savings, as well as safety and competitive benefits, without introducing any impediments to trade. By further aligning Canadian and U.S. ELD regulations, Canadian operators could use the same logging device in both countries.

Leadership from the Ontario Trucking Association, Canadian Trucking Alliance and the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada have expressed support for the new regulations, noting that electronic logs will help ensure all carriers are complying with HOS rules, which reduces the potential for driver fatigue.  The new regulations are designed to improve road safety and support economic growth.

Stay Compliant using Descartes Technology

As regulations change and technology evolves, Descartes develops solutions that keep you compliant and competitive. 

Our Descartes Telematics and Compliance solution is a comprehensive mobile asset management service using advanced technologies integrated with on-board diagnostics. Descartes is registered with the FMCSA as a certified ELD provider, and can also help you manage compliance with other regulatory initiatives such as Hours-of-Service (HOS), International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA), HazMat and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HAACP).

We can customize our products to meet your specifications and easily integrate them with your existing applications/systems. Plus, our easy-to-use applications are intuitive and only require brief end-user training. 

If you have questions about new HOS rules or ELD compliance, we can help.  Our ELD Resource Center provides the latest news and timelines associated with the FMCSA mandate.

To ensure you’re prepared to comply with recent regulatory changes, learn more about the Descartes Telematics and Compliance solution, as well as ELD-compliant services provided by PinPoint GPS Solutions, a recent addition to the Descartes Systems Group.New FMSCA Regulations proposed for US and Canada

Written by Noeleen Westland

Vice President, Product Marketing at Descartes