The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is an organization under the Department of Transportation established in 2000. The FMCSA’s main purpose is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries. It’s also responsible for enforcing safety regulations, targeting high-risk carriers and commercial motor vehicle drivers, as well as improving safety information systems, among other tasks. Overall, the FMCSA works to make sure the roads are safer for everyone.
Recently, the FMCSA began implementing changes to improve safety measures for commercial motor vehicle drivers and other drivers on the roads. Some of the changes were met with pushback. The FMCSA maintains any new directives are to increase public safety.
Breaking Down New Driver Requirements
In February 2022, the FMCSA began the Entry-Level Driver Training program. It requires new drivers who want to obtain their CDL to complete the ELDT program, which consists of a theory course and a behind-the-wheel training portion.
The FMCSA states that it implemented the ELDT program to improve highway safety by ensuring entry-level drivers complete the required training before they can test for certain commercial driver’s licenses and CDL endorsements. It essentially gives new drivers more opportunities for training in hopes they will be better prepared for what they might encounter once out on the road. This could help make sure drivers are more cautious on the road to avoid accidents or fines that could come back to hurt businesses.
The process to begin the ELDT program requires new drivers to verify their applicability, find a training provider, and then complete the training. Some may see these are unnecessary steps that weren’t important before. Change can be off putting to some people, which could deter new drivers from successfully earning their commercial driver’s license or endorsement.
Breaking Down Hours of Service Requirements
Hours of Service requirements went into effect in September 2020. It refers to the maximum amount of time a driver can be on duty. This includes driving time. HOS lays out the number of rest periods drivers need to operate their vehicles safely. Here’s what the HOS rule requires:
- It expands the short-haul exception to 150 air miles and allows a 14 hours work shift.
- It expands the driving window during unfavorable weather conditions by up to 2 hours.
- It requires a 30-minute break after eight hours of driving time.
- It allows an on-duty/not driving period to count as a break.
- It modifies the sleeper berth exception to allow drivers to meet the 10-hour minimum of off-duty requirements by spending at least seven hours of that time in the berth, combined with a minimum off-duty period of at least two hours spent inside or outside the berth, if the two periods combined equal 10 hours.
The HOS rule is meant to prevent drivers from getting tired while on the road and potentially causing fatal accidents. It plays into the FMCSA’s primary goal of preventing fatal accidents and increasing safety on the road.
According to one article, some who opposed the regulation believe that if they have a safe driving record and decades of experience, they should be trusted to know how long they can safely drive on the road to meet their work needs. One driver stated that he had safely driven more than 3 million miles and had not been in any accidents, so the rule was preventing him from working how he prefers. If more experienced drivers become unhappy with new regulations, it could lead them to early retirement or to find work in new industries.
RRL Insurance: Keeping You Informed
Look to RRL Insurance for your transportation insurance needs. Our coverage options include public auto insurance, truckers insurance, waste/recycle haulers insurance, and insurance for construction equipment. We’ll also help you stay up-to-date with new regulations and happenings within the transportation industry. Our blog section features different topics of information you need to know or may interest you. Our commitment to our clients is why over 800 transportation companies have chosen to work with us. Click here to find out more information on how we can begin helping you!