Will Proposed New Federal Rules Reduce Fatal Trucking Accidents?

The federal government has proposed several regulations to make truck driving safer. Here is an explanation of some the proposed Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) rules, along with anticipated timeframes they might become effective.

The FMCSA wants to increase the minimum amount of liability insurance trucking carriers must have. The agency says the current level of $750,000 is much too low and today should be between $1.6 million and $3.18 million to keep up with inflation. No one can say how long such this common-sense rule change will take place – if ever.

Truck Drivers Who Fail Drug or Alcohol Tests

A better way to keep track of truck drivers who have failed a drug or alcohol test is in the works. If enacted, the rule would create what’s known as a Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. Trucking companies would be required to post this information on their drivers to a central data base as well as check it when hiring new drivers. Companies also would be required to send updates when their drivers are caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This rule is expected to be effective in late 2015.

Drivers who work too much may get tired, and tired truck drivers can cause fatal accidents. The FMCSA wants to make it easier for drivers to log their hours and for law enforcement officers to check them by mandating all drivers use electronic logging devices. Scheduled for implementation in 2017, it will replace the current, easy-to-manipulate paper log books.

The federal government wants to develop a new process for measuring driver safety to better pinpoint the must unsafe truck drivers and either change their dangerous behavior or take them off the road. The target date for implementing this new rule, which bottom-line will rate trucking companies for safety, is March 2015.

Inexperienced Truckers

Inexperienced truck drivers can be the most dangerous. So the FMCSA suggests polling current drivers to find out what kind of training they received before getting their commercial driver’s license. The broader goal is to develop an effective, defined level of training that all new truckers must receive. However, the federal government has been pursuing this for 20 years.

While these new steps the federal government propose may help reduce fatal truck crashes, in many cases they are a long way off. Even if enacted, they won’t prevent all catastrophic trucking accidents caused by negligent drivers or trucking companies.

If a family member was killed in a trucking accident, you may want to consult an attorney who handles matters of fatal truck crashes to pursue just compensation from those responsible for you tragic loss.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.