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.
A longstanding Department of Transportation policy requires people with a commercial driver's license to get a medical physical every other year to maintain that license. The goal of the policy is to prevent, or at least minimize bus and truck crashes that result from a medical emergency of the driver. Questions about the effectiveness of that policy have led to new federal regulations set to take effect next year. The new policy will restrict which medical providers can sign off on a DOT physical by requiring them to go through a certification process. The certification will ensure that the provider understands the medical requirements set by the DOT and will know what needs to be done to test the driver's health condition.
The Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee and the Medical Review Board have teamed up to recommend mandatory testing for sleep apnea among obese truck drivers. Sleep apnea has been linked to numerous truck accidents where the driver either fell asleep or was exhausted at the time of the crash. The two committees are preparing a formal recommendation to present to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration later this year. Sleep apnea is a known-issue in the trucking industry, with several leading companies already testing their drivers to ensure that proper steps are taken.
With all the attention paid to cell phone use and the rise in distracted driving, it is important to keep sight of a problem that has been around since cars were invented-driver fatigue. After several high profile truck accidents cited sleep apnea as playing a role in the accident, some industry groups took notice. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration made a recommendation in 2008 that all truck drivers undergo screening for sleep apnea. Despite that recommendation, the Department of Transportation had taken no action to require truck drivers to be tested for sleep apnea or for sufferers to be treated before they can resume driving.
Of the many provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) signed in 1994 was one granting Mexican and Canadian truckers the right to carry goods into and out of the United States. After seventeen years of delays and disagreements, the provision might finally take effect despite continued concerns over funding and trucking safety. President Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon came to an agreement in March that will allow Mexican truckers to apply for permits after meeting certain requirements.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) convened a public forum from May 10-11 in Washington, DC to review progress made over the last decade in improving truck and bus safety and to discuss steps that must be taken to improve safety in the future.
At this year's Sleep Apnea and Trucking Conference, held on May 11-12 in Baltimore, Don Osterberg, vice president of safety and driver training for Green Bay, Wisconsin-based trucking company Schneider National, was presented with the first-ever Distinguished Safety Leadership award, which was created by the Truck Safety Coalition. Osterberg's receipt of the award was an unexpected moment for two reasons, namely because of his company's history of involvement in fatal trucking crashes, and also because of who presented Osterberg with the award itself: the daughter that William Badger was on his way to meet when he was killed in a crash involving one of Osterberg's semi-trucks.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced today the launch of its Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP), a uniform investigatory system that will allow commercial motor carriers access to the crash and inspection records of all candidates seeking employment as commercial vehicle drivers.
Last Friday, the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced it was implementing a new rule that, according to DOT Secretary Ray LaHood, is aimed at "cracking down on carriers and drivers who put people on our roads and highways at risk" by violating federal hours-of-service (HOS) regulations.