Looking Forward

January 20, 2015

 

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Trucking in recent years has been the subject of constant change.  Think about that old school trucker 20 years ago.  He probably had a big hood truck, three sets of paper logs, was gone 2 or 3 months at a time, got 5 miles to the gallon and communicated by pay phone. When out, nobody had a clue where he was or what he was doing.

What a lot of change has taken place.  Today the successful trucker works smarter, not harder.  He is on electronic logs and uses a smart device or computer to plan his loads before starting his clock. He gets his loads electronically, can check weather, road conditions, routes, construction, fueling and congestion in his cab before turning the key.  He makes more money and is out 10 to 14 days and runs legal.  CSA means that the FMCSA know everything he has done, and computers on the truck and in the Qualcomm send a steady and increasing stream of data back to the company.  He makes more money on fewer miles and gets more sleep. The recruiting advertisers know quite a bit about him, what he is doing, where he lives and more through data gathered from wi-fis, smart phones and social media.  Magazine recruiting ads are quickly becoming obsolete.

The trucks have certainly changed a lot, mainly through exhaust designs mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency.  More changes are mandated for 2017 and now mpg standards are coming into effect.

Change may not be very noticeable at the time, but over the years its constant tug has added up.  Many of us may not have liked changes at the time which we now take for granted.

2015 promises many more changes some of which we control and some of which we must accept.  Some are opportunities and some are just more regulation.

FMCSA is very active on the rulemaking front and they have a full plate.  Here are some of the big changes we may expect in 2015:

  1.  Electronic Logs.  The early adapters such as ACT will have a big advantage on CSA as the outlaws try to catch up.
  2. Speed limiters on all trucks.  We are confident they will adapt such a rule.  Whether the limit will be 68 mph, 65 or something else, we don’t know.
  3. National Drug and Alcohol Data Bank.  No longer will law breakers be able to jump from company to company.  All companies will know who is using.
  4. Hours of Service.  Congress gave FMCSA until later in the year to study the restart.  In the meantime we are thankfully back with the old rule.
  5. Sleep Apnea testing.  Maybe.
  6. Driver Coercion Rule.
  7. Increasing Liability Insurance Limits.  This is under consideration.  Could cause many small firms to fold.  We carry way more than the $750,000 minimum.

We in trucking have become accustomed to adapting to the ever flowing tide of regulations.  2015 will be no different.  Next week we’ll look at other changes ahead.

Happy trucking, Tom!