Continuing on our series from last week, we look at part 2 of the 2012 Year in Review which focuses on the key Regulatory topics that made headlines this past year.

  1. HOS (Hours of Service). At the beginning of 2012, we reported on the New HOS Final Rule that came into effect on Feb 27, 2012. In essence, the new rule reduced the number of hours a truck driver can work within a week by 12 hours. Commercial truck drivers and companies MUST comply with the HOS final rule by the compliance date of July 1, 2013. The issue continues to make headlines, with the American Trucking Association taking the FMCSA to court on March 15, 2013 for what it notes as a “misunderstood science” regarding the new mandatory 30 minute rest period in the HOS final rule. Stay tuned for updates.
  2. CARB. Probably the regulatory topic that we reported the most on this past year. Back in August, the California Air Resources Board and enforcement agencies issued a total of 817 citations during a four-week Gear Up for Clean Truck Month campaign for failure to comply to air pollution laws. There were also a few deadlines that came into effect during the 2012 year. The deadline for truck owners to submit their information and possibly gain more compliance time for the Truck and Bus Regulation was March 30, 2012. In addition, CARB also reminded truckers about the new tire requirements, outlining that as of Jan 1, 2013 2010 and older tractors that pull 53-foot dry van or refrigerated trailers MUST use SmartWay verified low rolling-resistance (LRR) tires and retreads while operating in California. Finally, CARB also announced that beginning January 1, 2013, new requirements will be implemented that ensure that the businesses (including brokers) that hire carriers to haul goods in California hire carriers that either dispatch or own equipment that meets the TRU Regulation’s performance standards. A busy 2012 year for CARB, likely to extend for years to come.
  3. TWIC. Access to ports was yet another regulatory issue that made headlines in 2012. The TWIC (Transportation Workers Identification Credential) program was designed to clear transportation workers for unescorted access to secure areas of ports around the United States. However, industry wide criticism and congressional hearings that highlight the burdensome process and shortcomings have plagued the program. In the midst of such criticism, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the United States Coast Guard announced a new option available for individuals needing to renew their TWIC  cards. In August, the TSA offered legible TWIC card holders the opportunity to replace their expiring TWIC’s with a 3-year extended expiration date TWIC, for a fee of $60. Read our post from June for more info on the TWIC and how it affects drivers.
  4. eManifest. This past year, border clearance aimed at going electronic, with the eManifest system marking the 3rd phase of the implementation of the ACI program by the Canadian Border Services Agency. The ACI program introduces a more effective risk management process that focuses on identifying risks the threats prior to cargo arriving at the border. In November, eManifest came under an Informed Compliance period, that will remain in effect until May 2013, when eManifest regulations are expected to be fully in place. During this six-month Informed Compliance period, carriers will not be denied entry to Canada or be subject to penalties for reasons associated with eManifest non-compliance, but will be informed of the requirement to transmit advance highway and cargo and conveyance data. UWT is ready and informed! Are you?
  5. CSA. Noted as one of the top critical issues facing the North American Trucking Industry. This year was also marked by a series of refinements by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on the primary safety rule for motor carriers, the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Program. While many fleets were far from satisfied with the changes offered by the FMCSA, there was general agreement in the industry that the agency is moving in the right direction on most cases. Carriers, however, continue to express serious concerns about how the agency assesses blame in crashes to carriers, even when their drivers aren’t at fault.

All regulatory agencies continue to monitor compliance to the above topics and much more, both through round the clock, daily monitoring and through measures such as the annual Roadcheck events. It is crucial that all industry stakeholders stay up to date on the current events surrounding these issues, so that compliance is adhered to and productivity is maintained and increased.

Have any questions on any of the regulatory topics we reported on throughout the year? Ask the experts in our carrier relations department! They are a fully staffed and bilingual department, and are dedicated to assisting our valued carrier partners, from administering paperwork, managing finances, assisting with claims resolution, and advising on any special insurance or regulatory requirements.

Stay tuned on Thursday for our wrap up of the 2012 year!

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