1. In 2009, the ongoing battle over truck drivers’ hours of service will be revisited either through langauage added to a transportation bill, the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. once again, or a Congressional mandate to the new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) administrator to review and revise.
2. There will be a trade-off. Truck drivers will still be permitted to drive 11 hours but mandatory Electronic On Board Recorders will be phased in over the next 5 years.
3. So far in 2008, the number of trucking fatalities was down as a percentage of miles driven. Next year, trucking will be more competitive with rail given the lower cost of fuel which will account for a higher percentage of shipping going to trucking. This, however, will be offset by the poor economy and fewer goods shipped. There will be losses and labor cuts in the rail, ocean, intermodal, and trucking industries. In trucking, this will make more experienced drivers available andcontinuing to reduce the fatality percentage. (Call me Pollyanna)
4. The Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee will be reconstituted. There will finally be two or three actual safety advocates on the Committee as mandated by its charter.
5. There will be an absolutely huge commitment to rebuild America’s infrastructure to the tune of several trillion dollars.