The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced on 12/27/19 that it will increase the annual percentage rate of random drug testing from an average of 25% to 50% of the average driving positions. The FMCSA estimates 2.1 million tests and a $20 million increase in costs in 2020 under this revised rule. In 2018, the last survey conducted of positive test results, the estimated positive results for random drug screens was 1% of all tests.

As of 1/6/20, the FMCSA’s drug and alcohol clearinghouse is operational, despite early technology glitches, and serves as an online data repository from which employers, state regulatory agencies, and law enforcement can check a CDL holder’s drug and alcohol violations. Beginning
1/6/2023, states must query the Clearinghouse in response to an application for a CDL. Currently, queries by state agencies are voluntary.

On 1/15/20, the FMCSA issued a request for comment on designing and conducting a study into commercial truck crash-factors. The study would replace the 2003 causation study that has been the foundation for FMCSA policy decisions but which reflects outdated technology and old
regulations. In addition to updating old results, fatal crashes increased 52% from 2009 to 2018, which has regulators looking for answers. The FMCSA suggests that the study collect ELD and crash event data, such as hard-braking or speeding, to make the findings more comprehensive
and accurate. Comments will be received through 3/16/20.

On 1/13/20, the FMCSA issued its decision that the California Meal and Rest Break rule is a safety regulation that is more stringent than the FMCSA’s Hours of Service (HOS) rules with no added benefit and is otherwise incompatible with the federal rules. As such, the California rules
are preempted by the federal rules and are not enforceable.

On 12/16/19, the deadline to migrate to Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) from Automatic OnBoard Recording Devices (AOBRDs) expired. As such, the 12/15/2015 ELD rule is fully implemented and mandatory with limited exception such as for commercial motor vehicles with model year 2000 or older.

On 11/4/19, the FMCSA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that proposes to reduce regulatory costs on commercial busses by removing an information collection burden on carriers. Specifically, the FMCSA proposes rescinding the requirement that drivers submit driver-vehicle
inspection reports (DVIRs) when no defects or deficiencies are found. The FMCSA estimates that drivers spend 2.4 million hours completing “no-defect” DVIRs, which the FMCSA estimates will result in a savings of $74 million.

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Allen Smith

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Austin Walsh

The information published in Hedrick Gardner Alerts is general in nature and not intended to take the place of legal advice on any particular matter. © 2020 Hedrick Gardner Kincheloe & Garofalo LLP