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Changes to Trucking Regulations in 2023: Implications for Your Commercial Fleet

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and similar organizations monitor the trucking industry to make sure that all commercial vehicles operate safely. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has begun significant changes to federal regulations in recent years, and 2023 will be a landmark year for commercial fleets.
Changes to commercial fleets’ investigative processes, speed limits, automated emergency brakes, and safety fitness procedures will take effect on January 6, 2023. Companies employing drivers with Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs) should take note of these changes at the start of the new year.

Effective date January 6, 2023 –Checks for the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

Employers will be required to conduct a query with the FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse as of January 6, 2023 to see whether a potential driver has a history of drug or alcohol infractions. All businesses that use commercially licensed drivers under new regulations must now do the following:
  • To conduct a thorough search, including pre-employment checks, you need to have the driver’s electronic approval. As part of your driver background check, be sure to look them up in the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.
  • Ask fleet drivers a few select questions once a year at the very least.
  • Don’t keep quiet about infractions in the drug and alcohol program. When a driver is hired who has outstanding drug and alcohol program infractions, the company should keep track of the date they take and pass a return-to-duty (RTD) test and when the driver successfully completes a follow-up testing plan.
If a violation is discovered during a compliance review or safety audit, the carrier might be fined up to $2,500.

Important Regulations

The following other regulatory operations are included in the Agency’s most recent Significant Rulemakings Report:

January 18, 2023 :Date projected for the integration of automated driving systems (ADS)

This warning is meant to facilitate the smooth rollout of ADS-equipped CMVs. For the sake of “prioritizing safety and security, promoting innovation, and fostering a uniform regulatory approach to ADS-equipped CMVs,” inspection, repair, and maintenance of CMVs will be altered.

January 25, 2023: Date projected for the Financial Obligations of Brokers and Forwarders

When does a dispatch service become an authorized representative? When it comes to moving cargo, what part do legitimate agents play? The FMCSA hopes that by issuing this notice, it will put an end to dispatch services that falsely represent themselves as legitimate representatives of motor carriers that are actually engaging in unauthorized brokerage and will also clarify the extent to which those involved in such activities will be financially punished.

January 30, 2023: Date projected for the Automatic Emergency Braking

The automated emergency braking (AEB) system performance for heavy vehicles is proposed to be standardized in this notice. It will contain specifications for motor carrier AEB system maintenance as well as standards and test methods for evaluating the systems’ effectiveness.

January 30, 2023: Safety Fitness Procedures

The FMCSA will issue a request for information in order to “identify unsuitable motor carriers and remove them from the nation’s streets” The present federal rating system of Satisfactory, Conditional, and Unsatisfactory would be replaced by these rules, and they are hoping to do this by soliciting public feedback on the use of available safety and inspection data in establishing carrier suitability to operate.

June 30, 2023: Heavy Truck Speed Limiters

Any commercial vehicle with a gross vehicle weight of 26,001 pounds or more must have an electronic engine control unit (ECU) that can govern speed to a limit that will be “determined by the rulemaking and to maintain that ECU setting for the service life of the vehicle,” and this notice will discuss whether additional regulatory actions should be taken on vehicle manufacturer requirements.
According to Susan Thiel, an expert in risk management at Amerisure, “these future FMCSA improvements will assist firms with commercial motor vehicles improve driver habits, expedite administration, and decrease loss severity, thereby boosting overall safety on America’s roadways.”

The Path Ahead

Organizations operating fleets of commercial vehicles must periodically review the FMCSA’s online rules for updates in order to remain in compliance. Commercial fleets may improve their operations and keep up with industry developments by keeping up with regulatory updates, arranging training for drivers, and enforcing regulatory rules.
Keep on checking this space for more up-to-date news and important regulations connected to trucking and freight services.