Trucking industry fights to hide truck safety records from public

It’s rare that hiding information helps to solve a problem. This is not an exception. The Safer Trucks and Buses Act, a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Barletta, would remove the trucking carrier safety rankings from public view. Anyone can check a carrier’s safety record on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website. Why hide truck safety records? The proposed law would remove access to the safety scores – rendering them inaccessible and useless. Proponents argue that the scoring system is flawed. The American Trucking Association says that “data and methodology problems plague the system” so the scores are inaccurate. Smaller carriers in particular take issue with the safety rankings. One safety violation has a

A plan to catch chameleons

Chameleon carriers are trucking companies that shut down to hide from penalties after multiple safety violations or crashes—and then re-open under a new name. For more, see Chasing the Chameleon. These carriers run some of the most dangerous trucks on the road: 18% of suspected chameleon carriers were in serious truck crashes, according to the GAO. That’s three times as many crashes as other carriers. How does this happen? In the CNBC report, Anne Ferro, administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, said that only about 2% of all new DOT applicants are checked to see if they’re chameleon carriers. That’s pretty inspiring for trucking companies looking to avoid safety regulations and fines. Closing the loophole The FMCSA is

Chasing the chameleon

The term “chameleon” refers to one that is subject to quick or frequent change, especially in appearance. Chameleons change in order to hide. Hiding from safety In the trucking industry, The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) use a DOT number to identify every company that operates semi-trucks. Theses DOT numbers are important: they track drivers’ records, vehicle maintenance and accidents. It’s how we identify bad drivers and irresponsible trucking carriers, in an effort to make our public roads safer. But irresponsible trucking companies have found a loophole. They register under a new name – and get a new DOT number – to skirt liability or penalties after numerous crashes or safety violations. A

Senate tries to weaken truck safety rules – right before semi hits Tracy Morgan

Just a few days prior to Tracy Morgan’s tragic truck accident, the U.S. Senate had moved to weaken federal hours-of-service truck safety rules aimed at preventing trucker fatigue. Mr. Morgan was seriously injured, and another comedian was killed, after their vehicle was struck by a semi. The truck driver was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto. The criminal complaint states that the driver had operated the tractor-trailer truck “without having slept for a period in excess of 24 hours resulting in a motor vehicle accident”. Prior to the crash, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed an amendment to suspend the 2013 requirement that truck drivers rest for at least 34 consecutive hours between work-weeks. The driver

New FMCSA Rules for Truck Drivers Hours-of-Service

The U.S. Department of Transportation has taken new action to address driver fatigue and to make sure that truck drivers get the rest they need to operate safely when on our public roadways. The new rule issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reduces by 12 hours the maximum number of hours a truck driver can work within a week.  In addition, truck drivers cannot drive after working eight hours without first taking a break of at least 30 minutes. The current 11-hour daily driving limit was retained, but, truck drivers who maximize their weekly work hours are required to take at least two nights’ rest when their 24-hour body clock demands sleep the most – from 1:00

Cell phone use banned by FMCSA

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in conjunction with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has issued a final rule specifically prohibiting interstate truck and bus drivers from using hand-held cell phones while operating their vehicles. The final rule prohibits commercial drivers from using a hand-held mobile telephone while operating a commercial truck or bus. Drivers who violate the restriction will face federal civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense and disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle for multiple offenses. Individual states will also suspend a driver’s commercial driver’s license (CDL) after two or more serious traffic violations. Nearly 5474 people died, and half a million were injured in accidents crashes involving a distracted


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