2023 to See Trucking Regulation Changes: What This Means for Your Commercial Fleet

January 6, 2023

Agencies such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) aim to ensure that commercial trucking companies and drivers adhere to safety requirements and other guidelines to maintain the safety of the nation’s roadways. In recent years, the FMCSA has initiated numerous federal regulation modifications that will make 2023 a big year for commercial fleets.

Beginning January 6, 2023, commercial fleets will be impacted by changes related to several factors, including investigation processes, speed limiters, automatic emergency braking, and safety fitness procedures. It’s important for companies with Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDL) drivers to understand these changes as the new year begins.

FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse Checks — Effective Date: January 6, 2023

As of January 6, 2023, the FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse will become the sole query source for employers to meet the requirement to identify prospective drivers with drug and alcohol violations. Because of this change, all employers of a regulated CDL driver must:

  • Request electronic consent from the driver for a full query, including pre-employment queries. Conduct a full query of the FMSCA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse as part of each pre-employment driver investigation process.
  • Conduct limited queries at least annually for every driver employed.
  • Report drug and alcohol program violations. Record the negative return-to-duty (RTD) test results and the date of successful completion of a follow-up testing plan for any driver they employ with unresolved drug and alcohol program violations.

If non-compliance surfaces in a compliance review or safety audit, a carrier faces a fine of up to $2,500 per offense.

Notable Regulations

Additional regulatory activities to watch out for as outlined in the Agency’s most recent Significant Rulemakings Report include:

  1. Integration of Automated Driving Systems (ADS) — Projected Date: January 18, 2023

This notice seeks to ensure the safe introduction of ADS-equipped commercial motor vehicles (CMV) to the road. CMV operations such as inspection, repair, and maintenance will be affected to “prioritize safety and security, promote innovation, and foster a consistent regulatory approach to ADS-equipped CMVs.”

  1. Broker and Freight Forwarder Financial Responsibility — Projected Date: January 25, 2023

When is a dispatch service considered a bona fide agent? What role do bona fide agents play in the transportation of freight? With this notice, the FMCSA aims to bring an end to dispatch services that claim to qualify as bona fide agents of motor carriers who may be engaged in unauthorized brokerage while clarifying the level of financial penalties for unauthorized brokerages.

  1. Automatic Emergency Braking — Projected Date: January 30, 2023

This notice proposes to standardize equipment performance for automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems on heavy trucks. It will include motor carrier maintenance requirements for AEB systems, as well as accompanying standards and test procedures for measuring their performance.

  1. Safety Fitness Procedures — Projected Date: January 30, 2023

This notice will seek information on how the FMCSA “might use data and resources more effectively to identify unfit motor carriers and to remove them from the nation’s roadways.” They hope to accomplish this by seeking public comment about the use of available safety and inspection data in determining carrier fitness to operate, and these regulations would replace the current federal rating system of Satisfactory, Conditional and Unsatisfactory.

  1. Heavy Truck Speed Limiters — Projected Date: June 30, 2023

This notice will address whether additional regulatory actions should be taken on vehicle manufacturer requirements, specifically that any commercial vehicle with a gross vehicle weight of 26,001 pounds or more be equipped with an electronic engine control unit (ECU) that will be capable of governing speed to a limit that will be “determined by the rulemaking and to maintain that ECU setting for the service life of the vehicle.”

“These upcoming FMSCA changes will help companies with commercial motor vehicles improve driver behaviors, streamline administration, and control loss severity, ultimately enhancing overall safety on America’s roads,” said Amerisure Risk Management Expertise Specialist Susan Thiel.

Looking Ahead

It’s vital that companies with commercial motor vehicles regularly check FMCSA regulations on their website to stay current with changes and remain in compliance. By staying abreast of regulatory updates, organizing training for drivers, and implementing regulatory guidelines, commercial fleets can optimize their operations and stay on top of industry changes.

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Contact your Amerisure Risk Management Consultant for more information on cost-effective record bundling requests for Motor Vehicle Records (MVRs) and Clearinghouse reports.