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December 6, 2018 3:30 PM, EST

Editorial: Catching Up With the Pace of Change

The trucking industry has been through quite a period of transformation during the past 12 months. Perhaps it’s time to take a breather — and take stock of where we are. As 2018 draws to a close, things aren’t as hectic as they were one year ago, but change still persists.

We’re closing in on the first anniversary of the federal mandate for use of electronic logging devices, and the industry has settled in to the change. While much attention was focused on last year’s Dec. 18 enactment date, far less attention is being paid to the sunset of a provision that allowed early adopters of e-logs to continue using their existing equipment well into next year.

Carriers that still are using automatic onboard recording devices — the first wave of electronic logging technology — have until Dec. 16, 2019, to continue using the devices, after which they must migrate to an ELD platform. These early adopters were permitted to continue with this technology for an extra year, but now they’re on the clock. We don’t expect this transition will be a huge challenge for carriers in this situation, but the time has arrived for them to make the switch.

The moment also is arriving for manufacturers selling trucks in Mexico to bring models for that market into compliance with the same emissions regulations as those sold here in the United States. Starting Jan. 1, Mexico will begin a two-year phase-in for new trucks that, by Dec. 31, 2021, will require that all heavy vehicles sold in the country — where a majority of trucks on the road are approaching 20 years old — be in compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2010 regulations for nitrogen oxide emissions.

At the same time, those trucks also will be required to comply with Euro VI rules. The first six months of next year will be the swan song for Euro IV-compliant engines in the country; starting July 1, those engines may no longer be installed in new trucks in Mexico.

These examples illustrate how circumstances can sometimes dictate the pace of transformation for an industry. It may not arrive all at once, but change does, inevitably. It’s the management of that change that separates success from failure. With a lot of it under its belt and still more to come, we’d say trucking has been handling transformation pretty well.