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A Look Into 2023 Trucking Regulation Updates

Trucking regulations are complicated and frequently changing, but knowing them can save you from fines and potential license problems. As we enter a new year, it is inevitable that new regulations or updates to existing ones may be occurring. The FMCSA has already announced their plans for 2023 in terms of proposed notices, but we are now entering a period where these notices are going to be prospectively acted upon. If you are in the trucking or logistics industry, it's important to know what to expect from some of the new regulations developing this year.

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The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) has laid out a series of proposed new regulations for 2023, and a few of them will affect the trucking industry significantly.  It is notable that commercial vehicles will be affected by regulations surrounding vehicle safety standards, speed limiters and even investigative procedures. Of the various regulations set to be introduced, here are a few key notices relevant to the trucking industry this year: 

Safe Integration of ADS (Automated Driving Systems)

One proposed update, which is currently set for January 18, is the notice for safe integration of ADS. The notice suggests amending some FMCSRs (regulations) in order to ensure a safe introduction of ADS equipped commercial vehicles onto the roads. What this would entail would be an adjustment or changes to inspection, maintenance or repair, and CMV operations regulations in order to prioritize safety and security, while also recognizing the difference between human operators and the automated systems.  The 2023 regulation update aims to create a consistent approach to CMVs equipped with ADS, as a way to promote innovation and adapt to a new technological age.

Safety Fitness Procedures

This notice, set for January 30, is seeking information on how the FMCSA may use data and resources to effectively identify and remove unfit motor carriers off the roads. The FMCSA will seek out public input on the use of available safety data as well as inspection data, in order to determine if a carrier is fit or unfit to operate.  There is also consideration of taking in public comment to change the current three-tier safety fitness rating structure, which means there would be a review of the current regulations used in safety fitness ratings and added to consideration are any changes which may need to be made. The regulation would eventually be set to replace the current 3 tier method of “satisfactory, conditional, or unsatisfactory”.

Standardizing Equipment Performance for Automatic Emergency Braking

The notice, currently set for January 30, regarding rulemaking on Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) will be a joint rulemaking endeavor by FMSCA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The notice is considering a proposal to require or standardize equipment performance for AEB systems on heavy trucks. What the notice suggests is introduction of performance standards and maintenance requirements for motor carriers with AEB systems, as well as requiring specific testing procedures for measuring the performance of these AEB systems in compliance testing (NHTSA). 

Speed Limiters For Heavy Trucks

Though this notice is a little further away, on June 30, it is a significant one. The notice will examine whether additional regulations are needed on vehicle manufacturer requirements, specifically for truck OEMs on speed limiters. This is intended to act as a supplemental follow up on the Sept 2016 notice of proposed rulemaking set out in a joint notice by NHTSA and FMCSA. The agency intends to examine if additional regulatory actions should be included on manufacturer requirements. The proposed regulation specifies that commercial motor vehicles with a weight of 26,001 lbs or above should be equipped with an electronic engine control unit (ECU) with the ability to govern speed limit on the vehicle. The unit, which is capable of controlling maximum speed should be limited to a specific speed (to be determined), for safety purposes. If allowed, the speed would be set for the service life of that said vehicle.

Broker and Freight Forwarder Financial Responsibility

Following up on the advanced notice released in September 2018, in this notice set for January 25, the FMCSA is going to work on proposing changes to the broker and freight forward financial responsibility requirements. This is per the requirement of the MAP-21 highway bill.  The regulation attempts to reduce unauthorized brokerages, by clarifying differences between bona fide agents, brokers and dispatch services, as well as clarifying the different levels of financial penalties for unauthorized practices.

Trucking regulations are a difficult, but important part of the trucking industry. We can learn how commercial fleets can improve safety and efficiency by staying attuned to changing regulations and industry best practices. As a driver, staying in compliance can help you stay on the road and keep your job running smoothly. Keeping up with the latest industry trends and regulatory updates will ensure that you are prepared for any situation.