December 10, 2015

New Highway Bill Passed: What’s the Impact on Your Fleet?

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Congress passed a major highway bill last week that will impact fleets across the nation. Over the next five years, $305 billion will be invested in improving various aspects of transportation programs and infrastructure across the nation, including an 18% increase in funding for highways, roads, and mass transit. Here is a breakdown of what your fleet needs to know:

Public access to CSA scores suspended

This is a major win for carriers all over the country who have experienced the impact an unfair, poor CSA score can have on business and productivity. This change is not permanent — the legislation requires the FMCSA to review the current system for CSA score assessment, identify the problems, and fix them accordingly. After the FMCSA makes the required improvements, the program will be re-implemented.

New methods for driver drug testing

Drug testing using hair follicles in place of urine has been approved, but will not go into effect until the Department of Health and Human Services provides guidelines for hair testing, which must be established within the next year.

Easing the process of veteran entrance into trucking

The bill includes minor adjustments in the driver training process for military veterans to decrease the hurdles in acquiring a CDL. One of the adjustments allows veterans to gain medical certification through Veteran Affairs doctors in lieu of the doctors listed under the FMCSA’s National Registry of Medical Examiners.

Changes to the minimum age of DCL requirement

A controlled study was approved to collect data on the benefits and safety concerns regarding employment of drivers under the age of 21 for interstate commerce. If the study results in changes to current age requirements, the impact on current concerns regarding the driver shortage could be immense by providing a new subset of drivers within the industry.

 

The FAST Act Bill is the first major, long-term transportation bill in over a decade to be approved by Congress. Better roads and routes correlate to increased productivity. Many of these changes were made to address safety concerns and the driver shortage currently faced by the industry. Keep an eye out for updates related to the suspension of CSA scores and the new driver drug testing policies.

 

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