The trucking industry has faced many significant changes in a short period of time. We have seen a wave of new regulations introduced, including hours of service and electronic logging devices (ELDs), national registry of certified medical examiners, national drug & alcohol clearinghouse, prohibition of coercion, speed limiters, safety fitness determination, sleep apnea, cell phones, and entry-level driver training—to name a few.
Without a doubt, these regulations have kept all of us in the trucking industry busy trying to comply and maintain satisfactory compliance and CSA scores. But are these regulations good for the trucking industry and our drivers?
Well, in most cases, they have certainly added cost and frustration to our operations. For example, many drivers who run e-logs feel ELDs can be a challenge, forcing drivers to try and sleep when not tired and drive when they are. Drivers can also run out of time while sitting in docks, forcing them to drive to a safe place to sleep as shippers and receivers do not allow truckers to park on their property. For the most part, it is true that drivers who use e-logs like them and would not switch back, but their day has to be almost perfect to be as productive as they can be.
When driving by a weigh station, I like seeing a closed sign just as much as the next guy. But as FMCSA states, safety is their number one priority. They claim everything they do, from enforcement and outreach to rulemaking, is focused on one goal: saving lives by reducing crashes.
Do you agree that FMCSA is putting safety first? Before you answer, imagine a world without any hours-of-service, maintenance, or cargo-securement rules. What would that world look like? Is it a nightmare, where drivers are asked to drive 100-hour weeks in poorly maintained trucks? Or do you think it would be an improvement?
So, as truckers working in this industry, what would you recommend to Scott Darling, Administrator of FMCSA, to help build a strong working relationship between the trucking industry and law enforcement?