September 2021 Newsletter
FMCSA Boss Nominee Meera Joshi Weighs in on Truck Related Issues
This past week FMCSA Administrator nominee Meera Joshi appeared before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation to be questioned on a number of truck related topics. Joshi has served as the acting FMCSA’s administrator since January and is President Joe Biden’s pick to be the next FMCSA Administrator. However, in order to be named FMCSA Administrator she will need to be confirmed by the committee and the full Senate. No vote has been held yet.
During the hearing Joshi covered how she plans to handle issues such as supply chain inefficiencies, potential future hours of service waivers, FMCSA’s oversight of new entrant motor carriers, port congestion and more.
Driver Positive Drug Tests Up Nearly 13% Through August YTD
According to the new FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse report, drug test violations have increased by nearly 13% over the last year. The majority of positive drug tests were for marijuana but a slight jump could also be seen in the other top two drug use categories- cocaine and methamphetamines.
The Clearinghouse went into effect in January 2020 and has racked up 95,740 positive drug tests to date. These positive drug tests make up 82% of all violations reported, while the remaining violations are due to alcohol and failure to submit a test. The increasing number of positive drug tests has led to growing concern over a shrinking driver pool and roadway safety.
Senate Passes $1 Trillion Infrastructure Bill with Under-21 Apprenticeship Pilot
Last month the U.S. Senate passed a $1 trillion infrastructure bill which includes several provisions related to trucking. The notable ones are the following:
- Establish an under-21 CDL apprenticeship pilot program
- Establish a Women of Trucking Advisory Board
- Establish a Truck Leasing Task Force
- Require automatic emergency braking systems in new commercial vehicles
- Require improved rear underride guards on trailers and additional studies into side underride guards
- Require a proposed rulemaking to amend certain regulations for household good haulers
- Require inclusion of small business motor carriers on the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Board
- Require a report from DOT analyzing the cost, effectiveness, and review process of electronic logging devices (ELDs)
- Require clarification of the distinction between brokers and bona fide carrier agents, and to take a close look at dispatch services and the penalties for illegal brokering
Before any of these provisions can take effect, the bill must also be passed in the U.S. House of Representatives.