Whatever the reason was, in September of last year, U.S. officials proposed requiring speed-limiters be mandated on all heavy-duty commercial motor vehicles. Then, as politics is known to do, with a swipe of the pen, President Donald Trump put that and a number of other trucking safety regulations on hold.
The main driver of this remains the executive order that for every regulation created, two must be removed – even if they are backed by industry, Congress and the public at large.
One such example of this is at the Department of Transportation, where the regulatory process on a number of measures that have been years in the making have been thrown into limbo, whether supported by the industry or not.
The speed limiter rule, CSA program, and even certain aspects of the hours of service regulation have come under increasing question. It remains to be seen whether these efforts will result in meaningful change or not.
What Congress Mandates
One huge consideration is that nearly half of all pending regulations are required, whether wholly or in part, by Congress. Any significant moves to halt or stall those efforts would likely have to come through Congress in order to be amended or removed.
There are a number of specific provisions, from rollover enhancements to motor coaches to safety upgrades for public transportation systems across the country. The question now lies in where the public benefit comes into play.
According to Bloomberg Review, of the 43 proposed rules subject to review under the executive order, 34 directly relate to safety.
The interesting thing is that some of these rules have nothing to do with trucking specifically. Two would impact operations of oil trains another two are aimed at improving airline pilot performance. A majority of the actions were in response to recommendations made by the National Transportation Safety Board.
Will There Be Any Impact?
Considering almost half of the regulations set to come up for review are required by Congress in some way, shape or form, there isn’t a huge amount that the new administration or transportation secretary can do.
The fact is, it isn’t only trucking-related measures that remain stuck in regulatory limbo. Whether it be finalizing rules or moving forward with new ones, there’s been a bit of a logjam.
We aren’t taking a specific side here, but are merely reporting on what’s going on within the industry. In many cases the slowdown has vexed even industry insiders themselves.
Take lobbying groups related to drone usage. They are advocating quick action regarding how drones are regulated when it comes to operating them in the air, whether over the job site or in any other capacity.
Still, there are plenty who advocate that the regulatory backlog isn’t an attempt to block safety measures that would benefit the public.
Instead, they point out that it has been far too long since anyone has evaluated the best way to relieve onerous paperwork and processes that are not at all streamlined. If regulations can be removed and fine-tuned, then the thinking goes that job growth will follow, even while these technologies are adapted.
Could it be that these changes will force agencies and companies alike to become more efficient and streamlined in regards to how they do business? Major technological change is never easy, but no matter where you stand on a number of these issues, it’s going to come no matter what.
Will the trucking industry, government regulators and other industry players be prepared for new ideas germinating on the horizon? With safety in mind, we certainly hope so. Everything should be built around the safety of truck drivers and those on the road with them.