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What Changes Are Coming with the FMCSA in 2024?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration frequently updates federal laws related to the trucking industry. New changes are intended to improve safety and reduce crashes. However, these changes also have the potential to increase costs, which could encourage trucking companies to violate these and other rules.

Here are some of the changes that have recently been implemented and that you can expect to see in 2024:

Electronic Logging Devices

The FMCSA mandated that all carriers and drivers use electronic logging devices to track compliance with Hours of Service regulations and other rules beginning December 16, 2019. The FMCSA implemented a November 13, 2023 deadline to replace non-compliant electronic logging devices. Those who did not meet this deadline were subject to penalties and disruptions in their operations.

Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

The FMCSA Clearinghouse became the sole query source for employers to identify drivers with drug and alcohol offenses, beginning on January 6, 2023. Employers are required to complete an employment verification report, confirm other disqualification information, and verify an applicant’s safety performance history with previous employers for the last three years.

Another change coming to this system will become effective on November 18, 2024. Drivers with a prohibited status in the FMCSA Clearinghouse will lose or be denied their state-issued commercial driving privileges. Commercial truck drivers will need to complete a return-to-duty process to have these privileges restored.

Automatic Emergency Braking

Automatic emergency braking systems indicate when a vehicle is at risk of colliding with a vehicle in front of it and automatically brake to avoid a collision.

While automatic emergency braking systems are not mandatory under the FMCSA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a report of 20 automakers who plan to make automatic emergency braking systems standard in new vehicles. The NHTSA has proposed a new rule to make them standard on all new vehicles, but it has not yet been implemented.

Speed Limiters

A proposed rule regarding the implementation of speed limiters was released in late 2023, with the extended public comment period and FMCSA listening sessions following. Speed limiters would prevent a truck from exceeding a certain established speed. This could be 68 mph, but that has not yet been decided. The rule would apply to newly manufactured trucks and would be required for trucks equipped with electronic engine control units.

Side Underride Guards

Rear underride guards are required on commercial trucks. These help prevent dangerous underride incidents in which a smaller truck can get under a trailer in between its wheels. However, these accidents can also occur when a smaller vehicle gets under the truck from the side. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to explore the possibility of requiring side underride guards on tractor-trailers. However, the proposed rule will likely not emerge until 2025.

Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer for Help with Your Case

While the trucking industry continues to evolve, one constant is the havoc that trucking companies and drivers cause because of their negligence. If you were hurt in a truck accident, you deserve to work with an attorney who is informed about key federal regulations and who will pursue maximum compensation to hold negligent parties accountable. Call a Houston truck accident attorney at The Doan Law Firm today for a free case review.

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