The number of truck-related fatalities has been recently on the rise, many due to unsafe drivers. But Senator Frank Lautenberg is trying to change that.
Yesterday, Lautenberg introduced a proposal that “is expected to be included in the larger surface transportation reauthorization package currently being developed in both the Senate and the House,” according to an article in thetrucker.com.
This proposal urges Congress to require truck drivers to undergo extensive training and knowledge/understanding of rules and regulations before they can acquire their license, the article notes.
The American Trucking Association’s Dan England advised the same thing, adding that instead of 18 months, a driver should “undergo an initial safety audit within six months of commencing operations” (http://www.thetrucker.com/News/Stories/2011/7/22/Senatortakesaimatcommercialvehiclesafetyprograms.aspx).
Lautenberg’s bill would also make mandatory the use of electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) to monitor a driver’s hours of service, thus removing those who are deemed unsafe or registered as a new carrier when in fact they are an existing carrier. “If drivers are not fully trained, qualified and alert, they should not be on the road,” he said.
England agreed that EOBR’s should be mandatory IF the HOS rules remained the same, since current rules have already shown to increase safety.
The Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association agrees, believing that reducing the number of hours a driver is allowed to operate is not the problem but rather the amount of hours a driver wastes due to detention (waiting for loads to be picked up or delivered at docks).
As the OOIDA’s Joe Rajkovacz explains, “Right now the supply chain is getting something for nothing. The free market emphasis is on the word ‘free’ when it comes to a driver’s time. Why is it the driver’s responsibility to eat that time?” (http://www.thetrucker.com/News/Stories/2011/7/22/Senatortakesaimatcommercialvehiclesafetyprograms.aspx).
Other ways to improve road safety included CSA improvements. According to thetrucker.com, England emphasized the need for “a national system to provide employers with timely notification of drivers’ moving violations and a drug and alcohol test result clearinghouse.”
But while many want changes to improve safety on the road, there are those who continue to argue that truck safety has already improved without any outside help.
Road Scholar Transport is continuing their effort to improve safety on the road. That’s why we recently added new trucks to our fleet equipped with the Bendix Wingman ACB system. This system will automatically reduce the throttle, use the engine retarder, or apply the brakes in order to maintain a set distance of 8/10ths of a mile marker behind the vehicle ahead. Learn more at www.roadscholar.com.
Do support Lautenberg’s proposal/agree with those who believe that changes need to take place to improve road safety or do you feel like safety has already improved and that no changes are needed?