How Will Trucking Look After the 2020 Election

The coronavirus pandemic might have affirmed the essential status of trucking, but it also has taken away the conventional methods in which trucking can learn more about the candidates that will define the industry’s future, this is not a typical election year, the 2020 presidential campaign is unlike any other in American history.

As November nears, a race to the regulatory finish line from the Trump-led Department of Transportation is expected. A second Trump term will likely continue to focus on regulatory reform, while a Biden-led administration could roll back new HOS changes.

While many in the transportation sector have supported the president’s efforts to confront China on trade, fighting for security of American intellectual property and market equality, the uneven pace of negotiations and selective tariffs that have been levied on goods from across the globe have caused headaches for trucking’s global supply chain.

President Trump being re-elected wouldn’t assure smooth sailing for trucking through 2024. The president’s uneven response to COVID-19 and trademark impulsiveness present challenges for trucking that could last well into a second term.

Trucking is capable of adapting to ebbs and flows in business. But with no end to the pandemic in sight and no federal action plan underway, many companies are struggling to determine their best path forward.

Former Vice President Biden has expressed support for various aspects of the Green New Deal (though not the entire platform itself), a sweeping environmental policy legislation package released in 2019, and could support stiffer EPA regulations on commercial transportation, following the steps taken during President Barack Obama’s two terms in the White House.

Highlights from the Democratic-led House infrastructure bill include:

  • Insurance limit increase: An amendment would raise the minimum insurance requirements on commercial vehicles from $750,000 to $2 million.
  • Speed limiter mandate: The attempt to mandate speed limiters will quickly come back around, Osiecki explained. “The Trump administration stopped that in its tracks,” he said. “They did not want to see a speed limiter mandate go forward. I think a President Biden would want to see a speed limiter mandate move forward because Democrats view that as a genuine safety initiative.”
  • Regulating driver detention time and pay
  • Upgraded rear trailer underride guards
  • Side underride guards on trucks and trailers
  • Making CSA public
  • CSA safety fitness ratings
  • Sleep apnea screening criteria
  • A rollback of HOS changes

Regarding the pandemic: Vice President Biden may first focus his attention on coronavirus, dedicating federal resources to institute national strategies to curb the spread of COVID-19, such an effort would likely create more economic hardship at the outset, but also could enable a stronger, steadier recovery on the other side if the virus can be brought under control.

Whoever wins the presidency in November also may be forced to deal with a combative Congress, in that case, it’s likely trucking’s future will again be defined by executive orders and regulations and not the legislative process.

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