2013-Year of Challenge...and Opportunity


The anticipated barrage of DOT regulations will create challenges for our industry in 2013. These are on top of the regulations that are set to come into effect this year.

However, for those who are proactive, this is a year of opportunity. Preparing now for the coming changes will position you ahead of others in the industry.

The last elements of the hours-of-service regulations are to come into effect as of July 1, 2013. First, a driver will have to take a half-hour break within 8 hours of being on duty. Second, 34 hour restarts are limited to once per week (once every 168 hours) and must include two periods of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.

These regulations will present challenges to meet the new limitations and requirements. However, they present an opportunity for those companies that anticipate the change, pre-plan, and coordinate with customers. While we appreciate the limitations of possibilities by the very nature of our industry, your ability to do so will put your company ahead in the game.

Other regulations are anticipated to roll out shortly. Among the first is expected to be a change in the medical examination system. Examinations will be limited to DOT approved medical providers who demonstrated their knowledge of the regulations by passing the required examination.

Yet another issue anticipated to be addressed in the medical field will be sleep apnea. As you recall, guidance was issued last April, then quickly withdrawn within a week.

Assuming it is addressed, it remains to be seen in what manner-regulation, interpretation, or as a part of the physical examination instructions. While opposed to any action, the ATA favors that it be by regulation which would require it to be based on science and a cost-benefit analysis. Additionally, a proposed regulation can be challenged if it fails to do so.

It is anticipate that electronic logging regulations will be promulgated by October, 2013.

Over all, it looks to be a challenging year for our industry. That is why it is important to plan now, stay informed, and be proactive.