March Newsletter

March 19, 2021

Truck Impact Guards

FMCSA to include rear impact guard examination in annual inspection

On December 29, 2020, the FMCSA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking requiring rear impact guards to be examined as part of the annual inspection for each commercial motor vehicle (CMV). The proposed rule comes in response to petitions from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and a recommendation included in Government Accountability Office Report GAO-19-264. FMCSA is also proposing to amend the labeling requirements for rear impact guards, and to exclude road construction controlled horizontal discharge trailers from the rear impact guard requirements. Click here for more.

Independent Contractor Rule

Final Rule delayed by Biden Administration

A Department of Labor (DOL) final rule (Independent Contractor Rule) left over from the Trump Administration which sought to bring clarity to the independent contractor vs employee debate has officially been delayed by the Biden Administration. The “Independent Contractor Rule” was supposed to take effect on March 8, but was delayed until May 7. However, on March 11, the DOL issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to withdraw the final rule. Taking direct aim at the ABC test adopted by the California Supreme Court, the final rule explains that the inquiry into economic dependence is conducted by applying several factors, with no one factor being dispositive. Additionally, it states that actual practices are entitled to greater weight than what may be contractually or theoretically possible. The final rule sharpens this inquiry into five distinct factors, instead of the five or more overlapping factors used by most courts and previously the Department. Click here to continue reading.

Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

In 2017, the FMCSA established requirements for the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (Clearinghouse), a database under the Agency’s administration that contains information about violations of FMCSA’s drug and alcohol testing program for the holders of commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs). This rule is mandated by the Agency’s MAP Act. The Clearinghouse gives employers, the FMCSA, State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs), and State law enforcement personnel real-time information about commercial driver’s license (CDL) and commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders’ drug and alcohol program violations. Click here for more information.

Zero-Emissions Trucks Rule

In June of 2020, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted a rule (Advanced Clean Trucks regulation) that requires truck manufacturers (from Class 2b to Class 8) to transition from diesel trucks and vans to electric zero-emission trucks beginning in 2024. By 2045, every new truck sold in California must be zero-emission. This is the start of a big push in the U.S. to transition away from diesel fueled vehicles to electrified vehicles. The “don’t get left behind” mentality will undoubtedly mean that it’s just a matter of time before it spreads nationwide. In Virginia, State Senator Steve Newman says that the state is about to adopt the most radical standards in the country (California emissions standards). He continued by saying that legislation already passed by the House and Senate (House Bill 1965) is not a good idea. Click here to continue reading.