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FAST Act Highway Bill: What Was Removed From Final Version

FAST Act Highway Bill: What Was Removed From Final Version

The final version of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act highway bill, finalized in the first week of this month, has been approved by the government and signed by the United States President, Barack Obama. The bill’s earlier versions are a bit different from the final version and have left out a few features which the industry and the truckers hoped would be included in the act. Even though a lot of more important factors have been considered by the bill, there still remains certain loop holes, so to say.

Truckers aged below 21 years: The preliminary version of the FAST Act Highway Bill included measures which allowed the states to collaborate and agree on allowing individuals aged 18 to 21 CDL holders to cross state lines. However, it must be noted that the final version of the bill fails to include this measure. Instead, according to the bill, the FMCSA shall conduct a study to view the impact of this underage driving, coming to a conclusion only after this deliberation.

Reform in Vehicle’s Weight/Size: The current bill does not include any standards related to truck size and its associated weight. A few lawmakers and lobbies in the trucking industry made every effort to raise the federal weight limits to 91,000 and the length of the vehicle to 33 feet; however, no such measures were seen.

Standards for Carrier Hiring: The hiring standards allowed brokers and shippers to hire vehicles only that are rated satisfactory on the safety ratings according to the protection and negligence lawsuits. The new FAST Act Highway Bill does not include any such hiring provision. This gives the shippers and the brokers a free hand to hire any vehicle that they want, completely neglecting the safety standards. According to the data provided by RigDig Business Intelligence, there are approximately 400,000 or more small trucking enterprises that are unrated by FMCSA which can now, with the help of this new act, rent out their unrated vehicles and earn money.

Defying the Court’s Rule on Drivers: According to a recent ruling, according to the California law truck drivers are required to take meal and rest breaks when on duty or on long routes. This ruling was challenged by the California trucking companies. According to them, if drivers were allowed to take breaks, the route will take longer than required and will also affect the schedule of transportation. This was challenged by Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA); however, according to FAST Act Highway Bill, the California’s court decision supersedes FAAAA, leaving many companies dissatisfied with this decision.

Tolling Changes: The original bill by the Senate would’ve allowed tolling on existing Interstate lanes, and some duties would have been levied outside of the U.S. Interstate system. However, the new FAST Act Highway Bill did not account for any such provision, eliminating all possible chances of implementation of toll duty.
The FAST Act Highway Bill although has brought numerous positive changes for the trucking industry; however, neglecting the above-mentioned aspects will cause the trucking industry to suffer in a few areas.
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