So, whatâ€™s new in DOT world? Well, DOTâ€™s electronic log rulemaking is still in place. You must have electronic logs in your trucks by December, 2017. The main exception is that drivers who use time cards are probably exempt from getting the electronic logs. If you fill out logs 9 days or more out of 30 days, you must have the electronic logging equipment installed in your truck. OOIDA has sued the FMCSA (aka DOT) on constitutional grounds, but I doubt theyâ€™ll get far. The rulemaking is backed up by an act of Congress mandating the black boxes, so I think the courts rule against OOIDA.
DOT has issued a proposed rulemaking which will completely revamp how they determine the fitness of a motor carrier. Presently, they rate the motor carriers as Satisfactory, Conditional, or Unsatisfactory. An Unsatisfactory carrier is given 45 or 60 days (depending on whether they transport passengers or placardable HM) to improve their compliance, or be put out of business.
Under the new rulemaking, it will only have two categories, Fit and Unfit. It will also rely heavily on the CSA scores in making that determination. I have not yet taken this rulemaking seriously, as I donâ€™t think itâ€™s going to happen. Itâ€™s reliance on the CSA scores has the industry and Congress up in arms. The industry last winter successfully petitioned Congress to remove the CSA scores from public view, based on concerns about their reliability. It is these same CSA scores, of questionable reliability, which DOT proposes to use as a basis for putting companies out of business. DOT says the scores are 100% reliable. Everyone else says they are not. I think Congress will win out again, and the fitness rulemaking will be delayed or scrapped altogether.