Serious safety issues face trucking industry

The U.S. President has nominated a new leader for the FMCSA who will have several safety issues to address.

Illinois residents know that having large commercial vehicles on the roads with passenger cars, motorcycles and pedestrians can be dangerous and even deadly. When a tractor-trailer collides with a smaller vehicle, the risk of serious injuries is great. The organization that monitors trucking in the U.S. is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association. The FMCSA currently faces several issues that directly relate to safety.

Truckers' working hours

It is no secret that truck drivers spend many long hours on the road and that trucker fatigue is a common cause of truck accidents. New rules went into effect at the beginning of 2013 that changed that changed the break requirements for truckers and other commercial drivers. The intention of the changes was to reduce the level of fatigue and improve safety.

The changes, however, sparked a debate throughout the industry according to Supply Chain Digest. At the end of 2014, the U.S. Congress passed a stay on the legislation. The FMCSA was at that point tasked with further studying the need for and impact of the changes.

OverdriveOnline.com reported that getting more details on this information has proven difficult for the FMCSA. The stay was originally to last only until the end of September 2015 but can be extended if more time is needed. That may very well happen as conclusive details have not yet been obtained.

Impaired driving

Another subject to be addressed according to the Commercial Carrier Journal is impairment by either alcohol or drugs among commercial drivers. A new database is in development that will be utilized for pre-hire screenings as well as annual screenings for all people with commercial drivers' licenses. In order to be legally allowed to drive in a commercial position, substance tests must be passed. Test results as well as test refusals must be submitted to the database so that they are returned in all screenings.

The FMCSA has been conducting random substance tests at a 50 percent rate. Bulk Transporter notes that these tests will continue at least until the end of 2015. This decision was made based upon records that show positive test results or results that indicate a reasonable suspicion of impairment have been on the increase.

Will a leadership change help?

In early August, the President of the United States nominated a new leader for the FMCSA. The candidate has been the interim leader for the past year notes the Transport Topics. When a new leader is secured, improved safety will be among the top issues to address.

In the meantime, Illinois residents who are involved in accidents with large trucks deserve help. Contacting an attorney after these crashes is very important.