FMCSA Finalizing New Rules To Target Bad Commercial Drivers, Fleets

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently released a detailed study involving large trucks and buses.

Courtesy: Wikimedia/Raunet
Courtesy: Wikimedia/Raunet

The latest data revealed that in 2012, there were 30,800 fatal crashes on the nation’s roadways. Of that number, 12 percent (3,702) involved at least one large truck or bus.

In addition, there were an estimated 5,584,000 nonfatal crashes with 6.6 percent (367,000) involving at least one large truck or bus.

The numbers revealed an alarming trend. Over a four-year period, the number of fatalities and accidents steadily increased.

In an effort to prevent those numbers from further climbing, FMCSA officials have announced several plans to beef up safety initiatives and outreach programs for 2015 by aggressively targeting commercial drivers who have no business on America’s roadways.

The plans include the following:

  • Drafting new rules for adopting safety fitness guidelines to help determine whether a carrier is fit to operate commercial motor vehicles. The revamped fitness-determination rule would include CSA data in fitness determinations.
  • Selecting a research firm to conduct a congressionally mandated study on the controversial hours-of-service restart rule. The firm awarded the contract will compare fatigue and performance levels of drivers who take a two-night rest period during a 34- hour restart with those who take less than a two-night period.
  • Making available $30 million for states looking to modernize their safety data technologies. The Commercial Vehicle Information Systems and Networks (CVISN) grant program focuses enforcement on high-risk operators, improves efficiency through electronic screening of commercial vehicles, and enables online application and issuance of registration and fuel tax credentials.
  • Projecting what the nation’s transportation system will look like for the next 30 years in order to better prepare for the future. Scheduled to be released in the coming weeks, the document, Beyond Traffic, will lay out trends in everything from population shifts and growth to infrastructure decline and technology.

As an attorney whose mission is to hold reckless drivers accountable for their actions when behind the wheel, I applaud FMCSA’s efforts to make our country’s highways safer by strengthening the guidelines for anyone operating a commercial motor vehicle such as an 18-wheeler, moving van, motor coach, etc.

While many of these commercial operators do, in fact, drive responsibly, for the few who choose to drive carelessly, the FMCSA must do everything in its power to weed out those “bad apples.” I believe the agency’s aggressive safety initiatives will help do just that.

Consider this. When innocent people are injured in a crash involving a commercial vehicle, such as a large truck or bus, obviously, lives are changed forever. But what many people may not realize is the hefty price tag that also comes with such accidents. Crashes or collisions with only injuries cost approximately $331,000.  That number jumps significantly to $7,200,000 for fatal wrecks. With so much at stake, no one can fault the FMSCA for doing everything possible to keep all drivers safe. You can only commend them for their actions.

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