Many in trucking will be interested to learn President Biden’s regulatory agenda for trucking. Of course, it won’t be the President himself setting this agenda; it will be the new Secretary of Transportation and the new Administrators of FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Much of the Biden Administration’s regulatory agenda for trucking can be readily forecast by looking back at the Obama Administration efforts in 2016 that were shelved in 2017 by the Trump Administration. For example, the Trump Administration withdrew the following four Obama-led DOT rulemaking actions:
- Increase in the minimum liability insurance limits
- Mandatory use of speed limiters
- CSA-based safety ratings; and
- Sleep apnea screening criteria for medical examiners to screen drivers
It’s very likely these rules that were shelved by former President Trump will be front and center on the DOT-FMCSA agenda under President Biden, especially considering the Democrat-led House of Representatives passed a bill in Summer 2020 that included direction to the DOT to complete rules on each of these four issues. That bill did not pass the Republican-controlled Senate in 2020 and, therefore, didn’t make it to the President. But it contained a host of other Democrat policy priorities for trucking, like mandates for automatic emergency braking on all new large trucks and stronger rear underride guards for truck trailers—two more topics likely to be on DOT’s trucking agenda. Where the Trump Administration shunned new trucking mandates, the Biden Administration is expected to embrace them.