The Trucking Alliance, the Alliance for Driver Safety & Security, used the Congressional hearing to emphasize the need and importance of truck driver safety and security. The Trucking Alliance advanced its agenda of promoting driver safety in an open letter sent to Sen. Deb Fischer, chairman of the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Structure, and ranking member Sen. Cory Booker.
Pointing to their major goal of “continuing truck safety reforms,” the letter submitted by the Trucking Alliance said that even though the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has tried to minimize casualties and reduce the number of road accidents and crashes, there are still too many accidents involving large trucks and commercial motor vehicles.
In the letter, the Trucking Alliance highlighted some stats. It said, “For example, in 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation data, there were 414,598 large truck accidents on U.S. roadways, in which 116,000 people were injured, and 4,067 people lost their lives. Of these fatalities, 594 were commercial truck drivers.”
The letter further added, “Our industry cannot tolerate such tragic numbers each year.”
The Trucking Alliance, in an attempt to further promote the safety and security of commercial truck drivers, highlighted 5 ways that can improve commercial truck safety.
Here are the details:
1. Implementation of the ELD mandate
The Trucking Alliance told the Senate subcommittee that lawmakers should ensure that any efforts by industry groups to stop or delay the ELD mandate are denied.
The alliance said that the electronic logging device mandate would help drivers comply with the law by ensuring drivers don’t drive more than they are supposed to.
Truck driver fatigue is one of the biggest factors in large truck accidents. The ELD mandate will eliminate the driver fatigue problem. And that will ensure that drivers don’t exceed their hours behind the wheel.
2. Recognition of hair analysis for pre-employment commercial driver drug test
Another suggestion made by the Trucking Alliance is that the FMCSA should grant a “petition for exemption” to recognize hair test as an acceptable alternative for identifying lifestyle drug users.
Hair testing is more reliable than the current urine testing method for pre-employment commercial driver drug test. But hair testing is twice as expensive.
As per the suggestion, if the petition is granted, the petitioners may use a hair analysis, instead of spending on a second urine exam, to meet federal drug test requirements. In the meanwhile, the FMCSA can complete its rule-making.
3. Speed limiters in commercial trucks
The FMCSA has proposed that all large commercial trucks must be equipped with speed limiters. The Trucking Alliance supports the proposed regulation that all commercial trucks must be equipped with a speed-limiting device.
The Trucking Alliance also supports a truck speed limiter rule where the maximum speed setting cannot exceed 65 MPH.
4. Reducing the price of PSP
PSP, or Pre-Employment Screening Program, was created by the FMCSA to help carriers make better and more informed hiring decisions. The program provides access to the FMCSA’s commercial driver’s record and five-year crash and three-year inspection history that fleets can use during the hiring process.
But the problem is that less than 1% of the trucking industry use these reports. It is because a third-party contractor that implements the pre-employment screening program charges $10 per report.
As per the Trucking Alliance’s suggestion, the FMCSA should renegotiate the PSP fee to encourage more industry participation in the pre-employment screening program.
5. Increase minimum financial requirements for motor carriers
The Trucking Alliance believes that a motor carrier must be sufficiently insured to properly compensate the victims of truck accidents.
According to a rule set 35 years ago, the minimum financial requirements are $750,000. These minimum insurance limits have not increased since.
In 2012, the MAP-21, or the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, authorized the Secretary of Transportation to evaluate whether the minimum financial requirements of $750,000 that were set in 1980 should be increased or not. And section 32104 of MAP-21 also directed the Secretary of Transportation to issue a report every four years — starting April 1, 2013 — on the appropriateness of these reports.
It means that a new report should be released this year by April 1, 2017.
Although the Trucking Alliance did not specify any amount, it maintained that the minimum financial requirements are inadequate and should be increased to meet its original purposes.
The Trucking Alliance wants to make sure that commercial truck drivers are safe and secure. They completely support the DOT’s Road to Zero campaign and the FMCSA’s ELD mandate.
Additionally, they have a few suggestions of their own that will help prevent highway accidents, road crashes, injuries, and fatalities that can be avoided.
Motive supports and will support every step towards making the U.S. trucking industry safer and more secure. Our aim is to help commercial truck drivers and fleets stay safe on the road and minimize accidents.
Our feature-rich ELDs are certified by FMCSA and comply 100% with the latest ELD mandate. If you are interested, you can request a free demo and explore how it can help your fleets be more productive and secure.