During the 2014 Mid-term Election, the Republicans made a tremendous gain in the US Congress. While many people are speculating which issues will be impacted due to the change in political power, it seems that the trucking industry might be a front and center issue.
During the election, the Ranking Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee lost re-election. But the bigger news came in the Senate elections. For the first time in eight years, the Republicans have a majority in the US Senate, and issues related to trucking will be debated. Carriers, shippers and freight forwarders should watch these developments closely.
Here is what we know about the Republican agenda for trucking: The Republicans have worked with the American Trucking Association to suspend the hours of service rules, specifically with regards to the restart rules for drivers to have rest. With control of the Senate, they will push for this suspension to pass. In addition, Republicans have openly opposed the new public safety scores for trucking companies. Thus, these scores could be obsolete. In addition, the newly elected Republicans could block mandatory electronic logbooks for truck drivers. Even if the Republicans cannot make changes through legislation, they could also block FMSCA funding. A new highway bill that deals with funding is due in May.
Without a doubt, the new Senate majority will impact companies that ship freight by truck. Keep an eye out for trucking news from Congress in the next few months, and expect important regulations to change.