The Department of Transportation is about to mandate the use of speed limiters. Speed limiters are also known as electronic control modules on certain trucks traveling across US highways. The rule would apply to trucks weighing over 26,000 pounds and trucks traveling on roads with a speed limit of at least 55 mph.
The American Trucking Association has requested limiters on all new trucks, and the Safety Advocacy Group has proposed retrofitting all vehicles manufactured since 1990.
Swift Transportation, the 3rd largest carrier in the country and the largest TL carrier, announced that it will be installing drive-cam systems in their 6,000+ company truck. These cameras will include forward-facing and driver-facing cameras that record and upload video clips before and after an accident, including hard braking and swerving.
According to Swift, the tool will help correct any “at-risk” driver behavior. The cameras will only upload recordings of critical events in the 10 seconds before and after. Implementation will begin next month.
Some portions of the legal profession are starting to focus a substantial amount of their efforts on the trucking industry. Some of the commercials by law firms that are being televised are absolutely absurd, and remind me of “panhandlers” in the 1920’s. Unfortunately, these commercials are allowed to air, so you need to be very cognizant of the new DOT safety requirements and HOS regulations.
The American Trucking Association has contributed money to promote the positive image of the trucking industry, but it is my recommendation to anyone in the trucking industry to contact their local trucking association and speak with the association members to continue to create positive images about the industry.
Get ready for the next big test under the Affordable Healthcare Act. The expanded directive mandates that companies with 50–99 full-time employees offer Affordable Healthcare Insurance or pay a penalty. The company change may prompt a reduction in hours as employers strive to stay under their 30-hour limit that defines a full-time workload.
As operating costs continue to increase and the federal mandates continue to cut into productivity, hundreds of trucking companies are shutting their doors each quarter. Although many of these companies are small, collectively, they encompass as much as a large, multibillion dollar motor carrier.According to Avondale Partners, in the first quarter of 2014, 390 carriers with 10,650 tractors shutdown.
In the fourth quarter of 2013, 335 carriers with 7,775 trucks went broke. The combined fleet was bigger than that of some of the largest truckload carriers in the country. In the year ending 2014, there was approximately 970 trucking company bankruptcies; of those 970 trucking companies, they operated more than 21,000 trucks.
This demonstrates the impact of the FMCSA requirements are having on our industry. The driver shortage continues to worsen. Besides the mandates by the DOT, the Hours of Service mandates, the new drug testing laws, and the installation of cameras, in addition to the upcoming e-logs and mandated speed limiter laws, are all causing many of the younger generation to look at alternatives to trucking to develop their careers.
The next mandate coming down the road will be an increase in auto liability limits for trucking companies, and that will further impact the availability of drivers.