The Experts Weigh In: 2021 Trucking Trends
What trucking industry trends can we expect to see from a new year and a new administration at the helm of the U.S. government? What sort of legislation can we expect in a post-Trump America?
Pandemic in review: What is the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the trucking industry?
COVID-19 ushered in a way of changes across the trucking industry, namely the updates to HOS regulations. But with the continued pandemic and a regime change in the White House, we’ll likely see more changes from the FMCSA and Washington.
Warren Hoemann, consultant and former FMCSA deputy administrator spoke on a recent podcast commenting on some of the FMCSA’s delays in policy and offering a few predictions:
• Real ID has been delayed to October 1, 2021. This was to be implemented by 10/1/2020 but the pandemic has pushed this rollout back.
• Entry-level driving training has been delayed until February 7, 2022
• There has been no decision on CSA (Compliance, Safety, and Accountability) or updates on IRT (Item Response Theory)
• We could see the resurrection of speed limiters/governors for commercial vehicles as more data is released about the problem of commercial and domestic driver offenses for speeding spiked in 2020.
• The Under 21 Interstate Driver Pilot Program could come under scrutiny as it has been resisted by organized labor and saftey groups.
• It’s possible that we could see changes to legislation governing driver pay.
In terms of vehicle safety measures, could we see a requirement for side underride guards? The FMCSA and lawmakers must weigh the costs and benefits of such a decision. Currently mandatory in Canada, these guards would have a measurable impact on fuel economy and vehicle emissions by adding weight to trucks. We could also see hikes to insurance requirements for minimum coverage of non-hazardous cargo.
What does the “next normal” look like?
Will 2021 be the year of the electric truck?
Elon Musk boasts Tesla’s readiness to scale production of its electric trucks, yet battery cells are a major roadblock to speed. So widespread electric trucking? It’s likely going to be a while.
And when it comes to autonomous fleets, we’ve still got a long way to go from a societal perspective and a technological perspective. We can start expecting to see iterative autonomous upgrades to new vehicles like AI-powered transmissions that can improve fuel economy says NDT executive editor Dave Cullen in a recent podcast interview.
How will the Biden administration & government politics influence the trucking industry?
There has been a lot of speculation about what a “green” agenda under the Biden administration could look like. While we’re waiting to see what legislation and initiatives are proposed, here’s a quick overview of what Biden’s platform includes. Biden’s agenda seeks to:
• Spend 50 billion in the first year to embark on existing infrastructure improvements on roads, highways and bridges
• Creating a national EV charging network
• Upgrading the U.S. electric grid
• Building a national high-speed rail system
Under the Trump administration, policies governing the trucking industry used terminology such as “safety and health neutral.” Given Biden’s attitude, we’re likely to see something along the lines of “a positive and proactive stance on safety and driver health,” a diversion from Trump’s laissez-faire attitude toward regulations on business.
Updates from the FMCSA
FMCSA created a 25-member driver panel consisting of commercial vehicle drivers (CMV) sourced from across the industry to bring the voice of the driver into the conversation about safety. The panel is part of the FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC). As of February 1, 2021, no meetings have been scheduled and no actions have been taken by the panel.
Fleet management in 2021
There’s no doubt that, with coming changes that will affect the trucking industry and ever-evolving technology that pushes business forward, fleet managers will be tasked with integrating every new piece of hardware, legislation, and compliance requirement into their operations. So having a fleet management solution that you can count on has never been more valuable.
GPS Trackit provides many fleet management options to help improve your business while complying with federal and state laws. To find a system that best suits your business, speak to a fleet advisor.