Trucking is a dynamic industry, and things are always happening. Here are a few noteworthy current events affecting shippers, carriers, and the trucking industry around the country.
Truckers Involved in Hurricane Michael Relief Exempt from HOS
The FMCSA acknowledges the need for truckers to have looser reigns for emergencies. The administration often declares exemptions ahead of and during states of emergency. In this case, several states have the exemptions from Hours of Service regulations and Parts 300-399 of CFR 49.
Some caveats to note about the exemptions include:
Declared emergencies end and these exemptions end with them. While emergency efforts are ongoing, you may want to consider helping those in need whenever possible.
DOT Forging Ahead with Regulations Concerning Automated Vehicles
DOT recently released “Preparing for the Future of Transportation: Automated Vehicles 3.0.” This document builds on and expands ideas concerning automated vehicles and the challenges that come with them.
Most importantly, the document states the FMCSA will not assume the driver of a commercial motor vehicle is a human. Nor will the FMCSA assume a human is present on the CMV at all. The document also outlines many more recommendations for inspections, safety issues, and other aspects of trucking with advanced computer systems.
The transition to partial or full automation in certain parts of the trucking industry is the current and future reality. Already, many businesses are mapping out a future that includes automated trucking. You and all others in the industry would do well to pay attention to these developments to stay on top of things as the shifts occur.
FMCSA Allows States to Waive CDL Requirements for Some Military Personnel
The new rules allow experienced military personnel to skip certain CDL testing requirements. The FMCSA leaves adoption of these rules in whole or part up to the individual states.
However, the general language of the ruling says military personnel who regularly used vehicles that meet CMV classification, can receive a testing waiver. The person applying for the CDL must show proof of training and experience to earn the waiver.
Unemployment Rates at Lowest Point in 40 Years
The unemployment rate for September dropped to 3.7%. That number represents the lowest unemployment rate in the country since December 1969. The rate comes after a 10-year decline in the unemployment rate overall.
Some economists believe the employment gains could have reached higher if not for the rash of hurricanes injuring economies over the last few years. Nevertheless, the trucking industry, which had trouble filling seats in the recent past, is also seeing gains in employment as well.
An increase in manufacturing and jobs means an increase in the need for trucking, transportation, and warehousing. Owner-operators and others should remain optimistic, but you should prepare for any eventuality.
Things are changing in the trucking industry, and those changes are happening quickly. Many of these changes have the potential to combat some of the issues and challenges the industry has faced for the last decade. Even if these changes don't affect you right now, they may affect you in the near future.
The rise in employment, the CDL waivers, and the government taking automation seriously all have the potential for dealing with the trucker shortage of the last few years. Stay in step with the news and make sure you look towards the future when making decisions.