In an action sure to make America’s roads safer – U.S. President Barack Obama signed the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) law on July 6, 2012. The law, sponsored by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), was revived as House Bill 4348. Its passing started the clock for all U.S. States to adhere to implementation within the next two years.
There are three core principals to the new law.
- In providing the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) new tools to take unsafe operators off U.S. highways – lawmakers hopes the new law will, “raise the bar to enter the industry and operate on our roads, hold motor carriers and drivers to the highest safety standards to continue operations, and remove the highest risk drivers, vehicles, and carriers from our roads and prevent them from operating,” according to language from the FMCSA website.
- Impact of the new requirements on the States are many, but not unattainable. The enforcing arm of the law starts with the U.S. Attorney General’s office. Civil action in an appropriate district court of the U.S. ensures that the measures will be strictly monitored for adherence. Penalties can bring about fines of up to $10,000.
- In regards to States compliance – the Feds will withhold transportation infrastructure funds for non-compliance after the three year mandate. However, the bill language states that, “…the statute makes clear that the U.S. Department of Transportation must not withhold federal-aid highway funds from a State because the State provided exceptions or exemption from its CDL requirements when that relief is compatible with the language in MAP-21”.
This is good because though “States are required to amend their laws and regulations within three years after the effective date of any newly enacted regulation or amendment”, there’s still some room for autonomy among the States.
Mike Mihaylov. of Montway Auto Transport has been in the business for a number of years and had this to say about the new law. “The positive outcome we expect is that the currently flooded market of shipping brokers and freight forwarders will shrink and only the most reputable ones will remain in business. We’ll get rid of the ‘dead meat’.” The “dead meat” Mike is speaking about is the deluge of unauthorized brokering and non-payment of freight charges that have been rampant in the industry. Over time, there have also been owner-operators who have had to file numerous grievances for slow-to-no pay for services. The new law will put a stop to these situations, making business safer for owners and consumers.
More changes coming in the next ten years!
The FMCSA will be required to begin 29 new rule-makings within a 27 month period under MAP-21. Rules will range from National Registry Rules to Minimum Driver Training rules. Over the next three years a total of ten new laws are expected to pass. Many of the rules implemented by the agency are expected to be fully functional in October of this year. Progress will be shown through a number of timely reports, provided by the agency. The first of these reports are due in April of 2013. The report by Commercial Vehicle Information Systems and Networks will detail financial responsibility since the implementation of the law in October of 2012.
New registration requirements under section 14916 of the bill bring about changes to registration fees. What was once $10,000 for the broker bond in the 1970’s has now been raised to $75,000. This will bring about an end to what has been labeled as ‘unauthorized brokering’.
Another great change is implementation of Electronic On Board Recorders (EOBRs) which are similar to “tachographs”, used for years in Europe to monitor driving time, distance and the speed at which truckers drive. These machines are said to be virtually impossible to manipulate. This is important for increased safety on America’s roads.
The new accountability devices will dramatically change the trucking industry in a few ways. “[EOBRs] will decrease traffic incidents involving truckers, because the EOBR’s will slow down the delivery times on many shipments which will cause a demand for more trucks/drivers on the road to meet the shipping demand,” said Mihaylov. “Nowadays most of the truckers in U.S. are simply falsifying the log books in order to meet crazy delivery times. [This will] get more miles which equals more money, but that’s simply wrong,”
It is obvious that reputable brokers, freight forwarders, and truckers will benefit from the new law – but the general public will receive their fair share of perks, as well. If lawmakers meet their mark with this new legislation, MAP-21 is expected to reform and modernize America’s transportation system. By accelerating economic recovery to creating jobs, the law is a move towards a brighter – more safe future.
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Janean L. Watkins found her niche in writing and photography as a student at Northeastern Illinois University. During her time there, she created .:Seeds:., an award winning literary arts journal. As Editor in Chief of Independent newspaper, she led the university newspaper to win awards from both the Illinois College Press Association and Associated College Press.
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