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Changes in Trucking Industry Regulation in 2015

Any insurers working with freight companies, agencies and corporations with large internal fleets should make their clients aware of a series of new regulations. Under the Department of Transportation’s new rules, which are intended to make the roads safer, states and companies must meet various regulations by a number of different compliance dates. Here’s a cheat sheet so you’ll know what’s happening in the commercial motor vehicle industry this year.

Cellphone Rules, January 3, 2015
Research shows truckers using cellphones are six times more likely to be involved in crashes than those who do not use them. Fines are stiff, reaching as high as $2,750 for drivers and $11,000 for employers who encourage cellphone use. The government regulations prohibit:

  • Using at least one hand to make a call on a mobile phone.
  • Dialing a mobile phone by pressing more than a single button.
  • Grasping for a mobile phone in a manner that requires a driver to maneuver out of a seated position.

So what is allowed? Voice-activated dialing, hands-free usage and speaker phones are all okay.

Medical Examiner’s Certificate Rules, January 30, 2015
Commercial drivers using vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds must obtain and maintain a valid Medical Examiner’s Certificate. They must also self-certify to their State Driver Licensing Agency their choice from one of four categories when they register for a Commercial Driver’s License.

By this date, states will be adding medical self-certification to digital information on the medical examiner’s certificate in the Commercial Driver’s License Information System. Paper records are valid for only 15 days after they are issued.

CDL Testing and CLP (Commercial Lines Permit) Standards, July 8, 2015
On this day states will begin enforcing compliance of the CDL Testing and CLP (Commercial Lines Permit) Standards final rule. When an individual applies for a CDL or attempts to renew or update his or her CDL, states have to check all databases to ensure the driver has not been disqualified in that state and does not hold more than one commercial license from different jurisdictions.

States must also commence with Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS) 5.3 by this date.

More changes may be on the way, perhaps limiting the number of hours truckers can work per week, as well as introducing new safety improvements. Stay tuned.