In a scaled-down transportation bill that targets $109 billion over two years, the U.S. Senate passed MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century) by a vote of 74-22. With it comes a number of trucking safety provisions that will reduce truck accidents on our highways by influencing the ways in which drivers and carriers conduct business.
Among the safety provisions included in the bill are mandates for electronic onboard recorders, a clearinghouse for drug and alcohol test results, and a written proficiency exam for new drivers. Additionally, MAP-21 gives the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association the authority to bar truck drivers who not meet and maintain safety standards. FMCSA would also be given authority to create rules that set safety fitness requirements for drivers, and bar for up to a year drivers who don’t meet the requirements.
Measures such as these would improve safety and reduce truck accidents on our nation’s highways by putting a greater onus on drivers and carriers to ensure that drivers are alert, capable and conditioned to navigate big rigs.
With the Senate’s recent passage, the bill now moves to the House of Representatives, which has struggled recently to generate an agreeable, longer-term, five-year, $260 billion transportation package.