Earlier this month, STC highlighted a prominent ELD vendor’s data showing that recent changes to the short-haul recordkeeping exception have resulted in a dramatic surge in violations of the 11-hour driving rule. Like others, we pointed to a misunderstanding of the HOS rules as a possible explanation. Sadly, this misunderstanding is highlighted each time a new significant safety rule is implemented. The recent Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse mandate, which did not change the underlying drug and alcohol testing rules, revealed a significant misunderstanding of testing rules. The publication of the ELD rule, which did not alter existing HOS rules, highlighted confusion about how to comply with existing HOS rules by some carriers. This got us thinking, why should it take a new rule for some in the industry to learn how to comply with existing regulations? It shouldn’t.
STC has used this newsletter to preach the benefits of data use and safety technology. We’ve encouraged carriers to stay up-to-date on the latest research and to implement strong driver hiring standards. All these things improve safety, but none are effective without backing a strong safety program that is consistently reviewed and audited. This ensures that carriers don’t fall into the complacency trap that has snared far too many and revealed their operations to be non-compliant and potentially unsafe. The bottom line: safety programs and regulatory compliance should be iterative processes.