When the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration proposed new restrictions on the hours of service a truck driver could operate, there was no doubt there would be controversy. Trucking industry insiders believe that the new rules are needlessly restrictive and will not make a significant difference in the number of truck accidents. The American Trucking Association (ATA) is petitioning the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to review the validity of the newly proposed rules.
The Department of Transportation, in conjunction with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, has decided to ban the use of hand-held cell-phones for commercial vehicle drivers. The ban is the latest effort to reduce serious truck accidents caused by distracted driving. In 2010, the DOT passed a rule banning text messaging by bus and truck drivers. This measure is more controversial, as the benefits of hands-free devices are not clear.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, under pressure from consumer safety groups and the Teamsters union, may suggest rule changes for how truck drivers operate. Advocates for the changes contend that any losses suffered by the trucking industry will be gained in reduced truck accidents. Opponents counter by suggesting that the new rules force truckers to drive during the hours of the day where more cars are on the road. They say that restricting early morning hours will put more truckers on the roads during rush hour, when collisions are most likely to occur. The latest draft of the proposal is currently being reviewed by the White House Office of Management and Budget.
A comprehensive investigation into the effect that fatigue has on the ability to safely operate vehicles within the nations four major modes of transportation has revealed some daunting information about just how powerful fatigue is - and how lightly the responsible federal agencies seem to regard it.
According to the American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA), undiagnosed or untreated sleep apnea can significantly increase a driver's potential to be involved in serious automobile crashes. The National Institute on Health's Heart, Lung and Blood Institute describes sleep apnea as a condition that causes a person to experience periodic pauses between breaths or very shallow breathing during sleep. The breathing pauses can last from seconds to minutes, and can occur anywhere from 5 to 30 times an hour. For chronic sufferers, the episodes appear 3 or more nights a week, moving the person constantly from deep to light sleep.
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.
The company involved in the fatal, March 5 bus crash outside of Phoenix, Arizona had been denied passenger carrier operating authority in April, 2009, but continued to operate anyways, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). Pursuant to an emergency request by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Tierra Santa, Inc., was ordered on March 6 by the United States District Court for the Central District of California to cease all passenger carrier services-even though the company's application to conduct such services had been officially denied by the USDOT on December 14, 2009. According to the FMCSA complaint, Tierra Santa's owner, Cayetano Martinez, operated other entities that had previously been shut down, yet attempted to "reincarnate himself as a new carrier" only to be denied authorization once more in December, 2009. The complaint further states that "Martinez has shown a persistency and determination to continue operating under new entities and businesses," a pattern that is "without authority and without regard for the safety of its passengers" according to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
In line with the upcoming, nation-wide implementation of Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 (CSA 2010) the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) launched Friday the initial phase of its Driver Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP). The PSP, one of the many changes the FMCSA is making to the current regulations governing large motor carriers, will enable carrier companies, including semi-trailer truck carriers, to have electronic access to the driving records for potential new drivers, specifically crash records and driver safety inspections.