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New regulations to impact freight brokers

by Anna Mischke | May 17, 2017

05 10 17_Truck Working resized2Five regulations have been added that should be on freight brokers’ radar.

Carrier safety fitness determination halted

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was paused as of March 23rd after the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) announced postponement. The revised method for issuing Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) for carriers received backlash from carriers because the safety data may have been inconsistent and flawed. Brokers continue to experience frustration with the lack of clear guidelines for safe carriers.


FDA mandates new food safety rules

The new rules apply to brokers, shippers, and carriers holding shippers equally responsible for safely transporting food. Compliance for large companies began April 6, 2017 and other companies are given an additional year to conform. Large companies are defined as:

  • Carriers with $27.5 million or more in annual receipts
  • Brokers with 500+ employees
  • Shippers with 500+ employees

There are some exceptions. See the Fact Sheet issued by the FDA.  

The new rules fall under four main categories:

  1. Vehicles and equipment - The design and maintenance of vehicles and transportation equipment must ensure that it does not cause the food that it transports to become unsafe.
  2. Operations - Measures must be taken during transportation to ensure food safety, such as adequate temperature controls, preventing contamination of ready-to-eat food from touching raw food, protection of food from contamination by non-food items in the same load or previous load, and protection of food from cross-contact, such as the unintentional incorporation of a food allergen.
  3. Training - Requires training of carrier personnel in sanitary transportation practices and documentation of the training. Training is required when the carrier and shipper agree that the carrier is responsible for sanitary conditions during transport.
  4. Records - Maintenance of records of written procedures, agreements, and training (required of carriers) for up to one year.


2013 hours-of-service rules out of effect

Added restrictive hours-of-service initiated in July 2013 were then suspended December 2014, and have now been permanently eliminated. With 3-5% productivity loss after the rules were enacted, freight brokers are seeing this as a positive. Rules required truck driver’s restart to include two rest periods between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. and restart was only available once per week.


Final stage removing MC numbers postponed

After a long wait with multiple postponements, the final phase of the new Unified Registration System that would eliminate docket and MC numbers, was suspended in January. The length of the suspension is unknown and while the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) can petition for reconsideration, it is not clear how President Trump’s executive orders on increasing regulations will influence the URS rules. 

New carriers and brokers are still required to use the URS, existing carriers and brokers follow the final phase.

From the FMCSA:

"FMCSA is extending the implementation date of the final stage of the URS 1 final rule beyond January 14, 2017 because additional time is needed to securely migrate data from multiple legacy platforms into a new central database and to conduct further compatibility testing with its State partners."


ELD compliance approaching deadline

The ELD mandate begins December 18, 2017. Only eight months remain before all heavy-duty trucks (with some exceptions) are required to use electronic logging devices (ELDs) to log hours of service and there are those concerned with predictions of 3 to 5 percent of the industry’s capacity being pushed off the road. Some believe that these numbers could reach as high as 6 to 10 percent. While many large carriers have been using ELDs for years, paper logs are still the majority for smaller fleets and owner-operators. Initiation of ELDs is recommended as early in the year as possible.

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