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Major Trucking Elements in the New U.S. Highway Funding Bill

Major Trucking Elements in the New U.S. Highway Funding Bill

The new Highway Funding Bill that was passed by the House and the Senate has been signed into law by President Barack Obama. The new legislation will not only effect the American trucking fleet companies but also the Canadian trucking enterprises, who haul goods into America and drive on the U.S. highways. The new Highway Bill is termed as Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which authorizes the authorities to spend $305 billion on the restructuring, construction and maintenance of highways and transit.

But those companies and drivers who are directly associated with the trucking industry should acquaint themselves with the finer points of the new proposition by the Federal Government. The most important thing in the new law is that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Major Safety Program has been eliminated from public view and will lie dormant until legislation is passed or corrective measures are put in place. The new legislation has sanctioned to keep the main components of the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) under wraps too. CSA is the main administrative authority that scores and ranks carriers and trucking companies on their compliance with safety regulations, known as Safety Management System (SMS). The new legislation further allows the FMCSA to make certain modification to the safety program in 18 months and correct the problems before the scores can be made public again.

Another thing that the new highway law emphasizes on is the illegal drug testing that will directly affect the Canadian drivers, as they will have to pass the testing based on U.S. levels. The new law allows the authorities to practice the new hair testing method for employee screening, in addition to or as an alternative to the urine tests. The proponents of this type of testing say that this is one of the most accurate and precise methods for employee drug screening.

The new law also made certain provisions in the detention time. The FMCSA is authorized to study and record the time drivers spend at shippers and receivers. The evaluation of such data will lead to changes in the drivers’ pay, schedules and the overall U.S. freight operations. The new law requires the freight companies to reevaluate the minimum liability requirement for insurance, as opposed to the planning previously put into place by the FMCSA.

The new law will be instrumental in rebuilding the infrastructure of the highway and transit system as it dedicated $10.8 billion to increase the capacity of highways and decrease the bottlenecks of major freight corridors and the multimodal freight programs.

The law also directs the US Transportation Department to set up and identify travel protocols for the electric, natural gas and propane trucks on the national highways and to set up alternative fuel stations along the way. The FMCSA has also been tasked with conducting a “regulatory impact study” before it passes any new proposition or law, which means that the administrative agency will be forced to evaluate the needs and effects of all sizes and types of freight operators and trucks before it can pass any regulation. – See more at:

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