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Federal Government Tries to Prevent Truck Accidents With New Plan

A new federal initiative aims to reduce trucking accidents and make the roads safer for everyone by, among other things, gathering additional information about truck drivers. The aim is to ensure that fewer truck accidents claim lives and that fewer accidents cause burn injuries, spinal cord injuries, head trauma, and other serious personal injuries. The new initiative is being overseen by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Under the new initiative, information will be gathered by the CSA 2010 from motor carriers. The CSA 2010 will gather facts about driving safety and safety records of motor carriers. This monitoring, as well as the additional powers granted to the CSA 2010 by the government will allow the CSA 2010 to give out more penalties as well as allow the group to issue warnings, launch investigations, and intervene when it sees unsafe trucking practices. These new regulations will mean a more prompt response to unsafe trucking as well as more regular interventions when unsafe conditions do occur.

Trucking companies and motor carriers will have to follow all the same rules, but the enforcement of those rules will change under the new initiative. There are signs in the industry that new enforcement is necessary. According to the FMCSA, less than 2% of the approximately 750,000 trucks and trucking companies are reviewed for compliance each year. The current review system is SafeStat. Under SafeStat, some trucking companies have not been reviewed for safety compliance since 1989.

The new initiative will also allow intervention. It will also hold individual, specific drivers accountable for unsafe driving practices. Currently, under SafeStat, where safety problems are found but no collision has occurred as a result of them, neither the motor operator nor driver are required to face any consequences. Under the new initiative, individual truck drivers will be monitored for safety over the course of their careers and their safety records will be reported to all employers.

Under the new rules, if a motor carrier or driver is found to be unsafe, a letter will arrive for the carrier or driver, outlining the issue. Then, a computer-based investigation will be launched into the matter. Eventually, investigators will visit the driver or carrier or collision site to glean more details. If penalties or other actions must be taken, they will be initiated after the investigation is complete.

The new initiative will evaluate motor carriers and drivers based on seven issues which have been proven by the FMSCA to lead to trucking accidents. These issues include fatigue (which will be based on hours driven as well as other factors), unsafe driving practices, driver physical fitness for the job, use of controlled substances, truck maintenance, proper storage and transportation of cargo, and accident histories.

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