by Pride Transport | Feb 04, 2020
The compliance deadline for the Electronic Logging Mandate (ELD) has come and it is now in place. As of December 16, 2019, all drivers carriers and trucking companies must comply with the regulations, there is no more grandfathering and there are very, very few exceptions.
But that was 2019 and now we’re into 2020. If you know the trucking industry then you know that things rarely remain the same. There are changes, tweaks and new regulations being proposed and incorporated all the time. And 2020 is no different. Here are five new regulations that will have an effect on the trucking industry.
Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has a new online database that identifies commercial truck drivers with drug and alcohol violations in every state. The database was established to prevent violators from crossing state lines for work in order to avoid detection.
All trucking companies must populate the drug and alcohol clearinghouse database with employee Department of Transportation (DOT) drug and alcohol violations. Also, they must verify that these drivers completed return-to-duty requirements.
Compliance was mandatory by January 1, 2020.
At first glance this may not seem like a regulation that will have any real effect on the trucking industry but, hang on, you’ll find that it has quite an impact.
On January 1, 2020, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) reduced allowable sulfur emissions from 3.5 weight percent to 0.5 weight percent. The IMO has a goal of reducing overall emissions by 80%.
The maritime sector currently consumes half the world’s oil-based fuels. This means a switch to low-sulfur fuels such as diesel will increase diesel prices around the world. This is where the regulation impacts truck drivers.
Fuel is already among the highest operating costs for carriers. The American Transportation Research Institute calculated that for-hire trucks paid $1.82 per mile in operating costs in 2018, which represents a year-over-year increase of 77%. The increase in diesel prices will compound this issue for carriers in 2020.
Updated Entry-Level Driver Training Rules
Starting on February 7, 2020, the FMSCA will institute higher standards for aspiring professional truck drivers.
To qualify for a Class A or Class B commercial Diver’s license, drivers must now complete a comprehensive training program comprising 31-course topics and 19 behind-the-wheel skills.
Set at the federal level, the new Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) regulations also require training providers to report their behind-the-wheel hours to the DOT and to register all self-certifying students.
To qualify as an instructor, candidates must have at least two years of driving experience, a clean motor vehicle record, and medical certification.
New Overtime Rules
The U.S Department of Labor’s new rule lowers the threshold for workers to qualify for overtime pay by increasing the salary floor or “standard salary level” for full-time workers to $35,568 per year.
Effective on January 1, 2020, anyone who earns less than the new threshold is non-exempt and entitled to overtime pay.
The new rule accommodates for growth in pay rates since 2004 when the last threshold was established. The change could raise costs for carriers with back-office staff who were previously exempted at $23,660.
California Assembly Bill No. 5
New Employees and Independent Contractors Bill or AB5, is intended to protect contract workers from being exploited and denied employee benefits. This new law went into effect on January 1, 2020.
Carriers must use the ABC test to qualify drivers as a contractor and non-employee.
The hiring entity does not control or direct the worker in performing the work in fact or under terms of a contract.
The work performed is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business.
The worker is customarily engaged in the independently established trade, occupation or business of the same nature as that involved in the work performed.
Due to the fact that most owner-operators can’t satisfy part B, they can no longer work as independent contractors for trucking companies in California.
This new law creates a quandary for a lot of drivers. Acquiring their own operating authority is typically unrealistic due to costs and risks. Larger carriers are hiring more company drivers but pay rates are not that attractive to independent contractors who’ve grown accustomed to high net incomes.
While some trucking companies are offering up to $5,000 for drivers to relocate that still doesn’t solve the problem. For divers, relocation means leaving homes, communities, friends and even family behind. That isn’t appealing to most drivers.
There it is, five new regulations that will have and continue to make an impact in 2020. But, don’t worry, if the history of the trucking industry has shown us anything it’s that once drivers have made peace with new regulations and have learned how to work with or around them, the government is sure to bring new ones in with the coming year.