At least a dozen significant pending safety rules have just been shelved by the US Department of Transportation.
Here are the nixed regulations that would have applied to trucking safety.
There is a direct correlation between stopping distances and rate of speed. Small increases in speed have large effects on the force of an impact, especially in very heavy vehicles.
Every year, there are about 1,100 fatalities from crashes involving heavy trucks on roads with speed limits of 55 mph or more.
To address this, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration got together and made a joint proposal for a new rule.
They recommended that every new truck, bus, and commercial passenger vehicle over 26,000 pounds should have a speed limiting device. The maximum speed would likely be between 60 – 68 mph.
The speed limiter rule started back in August 2016. Now, it has been moved to the DOT’s long-term agenda; it’s not likely to move forward anytime soon.
A rule that would require commercial truck drivers be screened for sleep apnea has been withdrawn.
Sleep apnea was a contributing factor in at least 13 different fatal crashes the NTSB investigated.
The sleep apnea screening rule was still in the early stages, but the DOT says the problem is already being addressed.
NTSB officials argue that the existing rules aren’t working: sleep apnea-related crashes are still happening.
And the other transportation safety rules …
These are just the rules that most directly affect the trucking industry.
Other transportation rules-in-progress that have been shelved include these.
- A rule for annual state inspections of commercial buses.
- A final rule requiring at least two crew members on all trains, which has been in progress since a single-operator oil train crashed in 2013, resulting in 47 deaths.
- A rule that new hybrid and electric vehicles, which are notoriously quiet, emit a sound when traveling a low speed. It could prevent thousands of pedestrians and cyclists injuries over the life of the vehicles.
President Trump claims his administration is just removing barriers to economic growth.
Those of us concerned with truck crash prevention and road safety might say that the administration has been lobbied hard by trucking companies favoring profit margins over public safety.