Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act: Motor Carrier Safety Provisions’ Impact on Employers

The Motor Carrier Safety provisions within the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) will impose new obligations on employers and require new research that, in flip, might result in further laws.

President Joe Biden signed the IIJA on November 15, 2021, because the manufacturing business continues to be severely affected by delays in getting uncooked supplies and merchandise moved by truck and intermodal transportation. A couple of weeks earlier than enactment of IIJA, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg instructed CNN that passage of IIJA was important to handle these issues. He additionally stated, “… we need to deal with these long-term issues that have made us vulnerable to these kinds of bottlenecks when there are demand fluctuations, shocks and disruptions like the ones that have been caused by the pandemic.”

CNN additionally reported that federal authorities officers are “working with state Departments of Motor Vehicles to help increase the issuance of Commercial Drivers Licenses in an effort to boost the number of truck drivers in the country.” That labor scarcity has exacerbated the delays in supply of products to producers and shoppers. Employers within the manufacturing and transportation industries ought to pay attention to the IIJA’s provisions on Motor Carrier Safety.

Apprenticeship Pilot Program

The Apprenticeship Pilot Program responds largely to issues over acute labor shortages within the trucking business. Part 23022 of the IIJA directs a pilot program be developed by January 14, 2022, that permits employers to determine an apprenticeship program for 18- to 20-year-old drivers (who already maintain business driver’s licenses) to drive as long-haul truckers.

Amongst different necessities, the apprentice drivers might solely drive a business motorcar that features an energetic braking collision mitigation system, a forward-facing video seize system, and a ruled velocity of 65 miles per hour. This system requires that the apprentice be accompanied within the passenger seat of the car by an skilled driver.

The Division of Transportation will consider pertinent security data of this system’s drivers and report findings to Congress in three years.

Girls of Trucking Advisory Board

The brand new IIJA provisions mandate formation of a Girls of Trucking Advisory Board to encourage ladies to enter the sphere of trucking and to overview and report on insurance policies that present training, coaching, mentorship, and outreach to ladies within the trucking business and recruit, retain, and advance ladies within the trucking business (Part 23017).
Different IIJA provisions tackle longer-term enhancements within the trucking business.

New and Enhanced Gear

By way of new gear necessities, underneath IIJA Part 23010, the Secretary of Transportation will research and might mandate a motorcar security customary. The usual would require any business motorcar assembly the supply’s standards, and manufactured after the efficient date of the usual, to be geared up with an automated emergency braking system.

Additional, Part 23011 strengthens necessities on trailer underride guards. Partially, the supply requires promulgation of rules for trailers and semi-trailers manufactured after the operative date to be geared up with rear influence guards which can be designed to forestall passenger compartment intrusion from a trailer or semi-trailer when a passenger motorcar is touring 35 miles per hour underneath sure circumstances. It additionally requires the Secretary of Transportation to conduct further analysis on the design and improvement of rear influence guards that may stop underride crashes and shield passengers in a passenger motorcar when that car is touring at greater speeds, as much as 65 miles per hour. Part 23011 additionally requires formation of an Advisory Committee on Underride Safety.

This part additionally requires analysis on the effectiveness and influence of facet underride guards to higher perceive their general effectiveness and “assess the feasibility, benefits, and costs of, and any impacts on intermodal equipment, freight mobility (including port operation), and freight capacity associated with installing side underride guards on newly manufactured trailers and semitrailers with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or more.”

The Motor Carrier Safety provisions additionally require oversight of digital logging units (Part 23017). This requires a report be submitted to Congress analyzing the fee and effectiveness of digital logging units and detailing the processes (1) utilized by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to overview digital machine logs and shield proprietary and personally identifiable data obtained from units; and (2) by means of which an operator might problem or attraction a violation discover issued by FMCSA associated to such an digital logging machine.

Examine of Business Motor Automobile Crash Causation

Employers within the trucking business know the importance of and potential difficulties related to crash investigations. Beneath Part 23006 of the IIJA, the Secretary of Transportation will conduct a complete research to find out the causes of and contributing components to crashes involving business motor automobiles and to “identify data requirements, data collection procedures, reports, and any other measures that can be used to improve the ability of States and the Secretary” to judge future crashes, monitor crash developments, and develop security enchancment insurance policies and applications. The supply contemplates that, as soon as the research is accomplished, the Secretary of Transportation will report back to Congress and make legislative suggestions.

Whereas not all of those provisions’ influence will likely be quick, employers affected by these new necessities, and the potential for extra laws arising from the research, process forces, and advisory boards commissioned by the Motor Carrier Safety Title of the IIJA, ought to carefully monitor developments.

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