2011’s Story of the Year – REGULATION

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When you talk truck driving, you’re talking a tough job. Truck drivers are always up late, driving early and put to the test, while rarely thanked for their service. So we at CDL Life wonder, like so many others in the transportation industry, why the US government and other state organizations continue to pile on regulations that make the job even harder, disqualify more decent drivers and drive down profits for carriers, while driving up consumer costs.

So on the last weekday of 2011, we’re going to take a look back at some of the top stories from the year surrounding the mountain of regulatory policies that Washington has been churning out recently. Have another look and let us know what you think.

The Hand-Held Cell Phone Ban Goes Nationwide – The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has issued a request to lawmakers regarding cell phone use by drivers. They not only want texting while driving banned, but all calls as well. And they want a unified federal ban that compounds laws already in place in a majority of states. They may even try and prohibit hands-free calls in tractor cabs, further compounding difficulties truckers have for getting freight to its destination on time. What gives?

The Hours Of Service Rule Revision – The new rule preserves the 11 hour driving shift from previous guidelines, but tightens the 34 hour restart measure. It also changes the definition of On Duty Time. As expected, not many transportation industry leaders are pleased with the political double-speak contained within the ruling. Expect this revision to generate a long and tedious court battle throughout 2012.

The Mexican Pilot Program – As of November 2011, there are only 3 approved companies for the Mexican Pilot Program for Motor Carriers: Distribuidor a Marina El Pescador, Transportes Olympic, and Grupo Behr de Baja California. Transportes Olympic is currently the only carrier moving freight across the U.S. border. But this hasn’t stopped the Teamsters under James Hoffa and a few other interest groups from challenging the legality of this NAFTA mandate. Expect lots more information on this to come through in 2012 as battle lines are drawn and refined.

The NHTSA Proposes a Stability Control System Mandate – This year in March, the NHTSA issued a notice indicating interest in a possible rule about requiring stability control systems in all vehicles over 10,000 lbs.  That notice said the rule would promulgate a new federal standard that would require stability control systems on truck tractors and motor coaches that address both rollover and loss of control crashes. However, the report so much as admitted that these systems aren’t helpful in avoiding impacts once the truck driver is faced with an emergency evasive situation. Can the feds really want something so expensive and ineffective?

So much for 2011. We hope to see everyone healthier and happier in 2012. Good luck, truckers!