Regulation Updates for Truck Drivers in 2018

The new year is changing regulations for anyone who holds a Commercial Driver Licenses. Many of these updates have been in the pipework for some time, but will finally be implemented in 2018. We’ve highlighted some of the most significant changes you might see in the coming year so you can plan ahead.

ELD Mandate is in Effect

Earlier this year news came out regarding Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) which mandates all businesses implement these systems into their trucks. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ELDs are “intended to help create a safer work environment for drivers, and make it easier and faster to accurately track, manage, and share records of duty status (RODS) data. An ELD synchronizes with a vehicle engine to automatically record driving time, for easier, more accurate hours of service (HOS) recording.

The use of ELDs was proposed back in 2007 and finalized in 2010. However, the regulation for each business to provide an updated system only went into effect on December 18th, 2017 as a result of a bipartisan measure in the MAP-21 highway bill.

In a recent article for Trucking Info, ATA President and CEO Chris Spear said “electronic logging devices have been legislated, promulgated, and litigated. The time has finally come to retire decades-old, burdensome paper logs that consume countless hours and are susceptible to fraud and put the safety of all motorists first.”

Most larger companies have already been using these systems, and the new law will mostly affect smaller businesses. Law enforcement has been advised to take a phase-in approach when accounting for violations. Until April 1st, 2018, anyone in violation of this new rule will not have it counted against their CSA score.

Updates to Medical Regulations

Most of the changes drivers will see in 2018 revolve around medical regulations to operate a commercial vehicle. Starting in July of 2018, FMCSA will not require drivers to carry a medical card or submit it to the state for testing. An electronic verification system will certify all drivers so they can go paperless. This change eliminates extra steps drivers need to meet in order to comply with rules to be on the road.

Hours of Service

There is a lot of information going around about the Hours of Service (HOS) Restart. The 2013 version of the rule required drivers to be off-duty twice from 1 AM – 5 AM to allow drivers to reset their hours. To avoid any confusion, the most recent truck driving rules says drivers:

  • May drive a maximum of 11 hours after ten consecutive hours off duty.
  • May not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following ten straight hours off duty. Off-duty time does not extend the 14-hour period.
  • May drive only if 8 hours or less have passed since the end of driver’s last off-duty or sleeper berth period of at least 30 minutes. Does not apply to drivers using either of the short-haul exceptions in 395.1(e). [49 CFR 397.5 mandatory “in attendance” time may be included in break if no other duties performed]
  • May not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.

Drug Testing Panel to Expand

Beginning the 1st of January, 2018, the Department of Transportation will add hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, and oxycodone to their truck driver drug-testing panel. These changes are a reaction to the recent revisions to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs that took place in October of last year. This update comes in response to the prescription painkiller epidemic and has expanded their testing to include these four opioids prescribed by doctors. Additionally, all drug testing must be taken by urine sample only.

Ready to become part of the next generation of trucking? Contact Beacon Transport today.


Beacon Transport is a truckload carrier company based in Nashville, TN that specializes in hauling non-hazardous dry freight throughout the Southeast, Midwest and Southwest.