4 New Trucking Laws in 2020 You Need to Know

January 29, 2020 Casey Nighbor


A new round of laws and regulations went into effect at the end of 2019 into the beginning of 2020 and have the potential to create ripples in the trucking industry. Here are 4 big regulations changes occurring now: 

1. Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Implementation

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the ELD rule outlines four new requirements: 

  • Requires ELD use by commercial drivers who are required to prepare Hours of Service (HOS) Records of Duty Status (RODS).
  • Sets ELD performance and design standards and requires ELDs to be certified and registered with FMCSA.
  • Establishes what supporting documents drivers and carriers are required to keep.
  • Prohibits harassment of drivers based on ELD data or connected technology (such as fleet management system). The rule also provides recourse for drivers who believe they have been harassed.

This federal law went into effect December 16, 2019 and requires most motor carriers to use electronic logging devices (ELDs) to track driver Hours of Service. 

The deadline for full compliance has passed but fines for ELD violations range from $1,000-$10,000.

2. Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

The Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is a secure, online database that will give employers and other authorized users real-time information about commercial driver’s license (CDL) and commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders’ drug and alcohol program violations, thus improving safety on our nation’s roadways.

By January 6, 2020, all fleets are required to follow The Clearinghouse. This keeps commercial drivers who have a violated federal drug or alcohol rule from lying about those results and getting a job with another carrier.

Registered CDL drivers can use The Clearinghouse to:

  • Provide electronic consent to release detailed drug or alcohol violation information in your Clearinghouse record to a current or prospective employer (when an employer conducts a full query).
  • Review your own Clearinghouse record and initiate the process to revise or remove incorrectly entered information.
  • Identify a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) to report on RTD activities, if you have an unresolved drug and alcohol program violation in your record.

3. New entry level training

Starting in February 2020, the minimum CDL training standards will be set on a federal level. The new entry-level driver training (ELDT) program incorporates new requirements from the FMCSA and will be implemented in public, state and private CDL schools. Below are updates that the new program will include.  

  • Entry-level drivers will need to complete a knowledge-based program and behind-the-wheel courses.
  • The only institutions that will be able to provide entry-level driver training will be listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association’s Trainer Provider Registry.
  • Driving instructors must have had an active commercial driver’s license for at least two years before being allowed to train other drivers. 

As of January 29, the rollout date of this rule has been extended to February 7, 2022. This will give the agency more time to complete the development of the training program. 

4. AB5

Assembly Bill 5 or AB5 makes it harder for companies to label workers as independent contractors in the state of California.

This new law does not just apply to Uber and Lyft drivers or office workers brought on as independent contractors. It also drastically impacts the way the trucking industry in California operates.

The new law assumes workers are employees. To prove otherwise, the hiring company has the burden of demonstrating that the worker meets a very specific test.

On January 13, a judge upheld a temporary restraining order that keeps officials from enforcing the terms of AB5 on motor carriers. The lawsuit was brought by the California Trucking Association who challenged the ABC test of the bill. The order will stand until a preliminary ruling is made. 

Learn what AB5 means for the trucking industry or download our AB5 infographic. 


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