Changes in Regulations for Licensed Commercial Truck Drivers
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Changes in Regulations for Licensed Commercial Truck Drivers

Monday, April 09, 2018By Nina Shapirshteyn

Commercial truckers should prepare to see new regulations take effect in 2018. These rules affect certain work requirements for truckers. These regulations are largely intended to improve the safety of truck drivers and other motorists through improved reporting, stricter time restrictions for driving, and expanded oversight of the use of substances.

Electronic Logging Devices Installation (ELD)

The mandatory use of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) was mandated as of 2007, but the requirement to put these systems into effect became effective in December, 2017. Proponents of ELDs maintain that the implementation of modern tracking devices is long overdue after decades of antiquated and unreliable logging practices. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration hails ELD installment as a positive step toward improving trucker safety by providing accurate and automatic recordation and management of duty status. The ELD device attaches to the engine to continuously track driving time. This allows truckers to record their driving times in a transparent manner that can be monitored by fleet carriers. While many of the larger fleets have already installed ELDs, the smaller trucking companies are beginning to comply with the regulations. It is believed that ELD use will benefit everyone: truckers, motorists, and fleet owners.

Additional Drug Testing

The drug and alcohol testing panel to which all truckers are subject will undergo some changes in 2018. The panel will be expanded to include “semi-synthetic” opioids such as hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone and oxymorphone. This enlarged list comes in the wake of the alarming opioid epidemic affecting various areas of the country. The Department of Health and Human Services has reported that the opioids included on this list are the medications most typically used without having a prescription.

Hours of Service Updates

The hours of service rules provide that truckers may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty. Truckers are prohibited from driving more than 14 consecutive hours on duty following 10 straight hours off duty. Truckers can drive only when 8 hours or less have passed since the end of the previous off-duty or sleeping period of at least 30 minutes. Lastly, drivers are prohibited from driving after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days.

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