In working to improve road safety, federal agencies are considering if equipping trucks with speed limiters could decrease the severity of crashes and resulting injuries and fatalities. Some trucking organizations and private citizens, however, claim there is a lack of evidence the devices mitigate hazardous incidents and suggest they actually might cause more problems.
On March 21 of this year, a commercial truck driver was stopped by Illinois State Police. The driver was eventually cited for driving under the influence of alcohol, possession of an intoxicating beverage while on duty or driving, and for failing to retain driver logbooks for the previous seven days. He was also cited for improper lane usage and for illegally transporting alcohol. The driver's blood alcohol content was measured at .308. The legal limit for a person with a Commercial Drivers' License is .04. Due to the driver's previous record, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued an effective shutdown order for the driver.
A committee at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recently prepared a report concerning fatigue in the trucking industry. The report called for greater research and analysis by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The conclusion was that there is insufficient information gathered concerning truck driver fatigue and its impact on highway safety and long-term health for truckers. The report also concluded that the lack of information is harming the FMCSA's ability to set rules concerning hours of service, medical certification and other regulations designed to combat drowsy driving.
A new proposal from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration could change the training necessary to get a Commercial Driver's License. The proposal was released today and will be open for public commentary for the next 60 days. The FMCSA could then submit the rule to the Department of Transportation and the Office of Management and Budget for approval, or it could extend the comment period to gather further feedback. Once the OMB and DOT approve the final rule it will be published in the Federal Register. The measure would go into effect three years after the publication date.
Roadside inspections are conducted to ensure that commercial trucks and truck drivers are complying with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and Hazardous Materials Regulations. According to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, roadside inspectors are facing undue burdens in performing their duties. The CVSA wrote a letter to the FMCSA about concerns that the number of exemptions handed out to drivers and trucking companies is complicating the roadside inspection process.
Among the ten entries in the 2016 Most Wanted List of safety improvements put forth by the National Transportation Safety Board are four that potentially address the ability of truck drivers to operate their vehicles safely. The following goals are all known issues in the commercial trucking industry:
Fatigue is a serious issue for many drivers. Lack of sleep can cause a driver to make a number of driving errors, including drifting into the other lane and failing to take evasive action when traffic demands. For truck drivers, economic pressure can push them toward driving in a fatigued state. Hours-of-service regulations exist to encourage drivers to get adequate sleep and avoid truck accidents caused by sleepy drivers. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute has been commissioned to conduct a federal study into the impact of regulated sleep schedules.
Commercial trucks in the United States come equipped with underride guards. Underride guards are the metal pieces that hang down the back end of a box trailer. The purpose of these guards is to reduce the chances of a fatality if a passenger vehicle strikes the back of the truck. Without the guard, the back of the trailer would strike many vehicles at windshield height.
The traffic fatality numbers from the first half of 2015 represent an estimated increase from the prior year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released the final numbers for 2014 traffic deaths, as well as the estimate for 2015, this week. The NHTSA cited the increase in calling for renewed efforts to combat the dangerous behaviors that contribute to so many fatal car and truck accidents. With an estimated increase in both the fatality rate and total fatality numbers, 2015 is on pace to reverse a long-standing general trend of safer motor vehicle travel.
The design of a tractor trailer is the result of many things. Federal regulations require certain safety equipment. Fuel efficiency and driver comfort play a role in the design of truck cabs. The basic structure, however, is the result of a standardization method known as containerization.