By Richard Shapiro, Virginia Trucking Accident Attorney
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will be delaying several pending trucking regulations, but they will be published before the end of President Obama’s second term. According to the publication Fleet Owner, the following regulations being delayed for now include:
- Database for drugs and alcohol: The final rule that will develop this new database was first delayed to March 2016 but has been delayed again.
- Minimum insurance levels increased: There has been a backlash against increasing insurance levels by agency fiat. That is why FMCSA has agreed to issue what is called an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking on the matter. For now, other new rules have taken priority. Increasing mandatory insurance levels has been a key consumer safety initiative sought by the attorneys representing victims of serious trucking accidents causing injuries or deaths. Delaying this rulemaking is strongly opposed by the attorneys who represent victims of the serious injuries.
- Installation of speed limiters: There will not be a final rule on this matter until at least the end of 2016.
- Entry level driver training: The final rule on this had been delayed until November 15, but has been delayed yet again.
- A prohibition of coercion: The enforcement of this coming rule will be given to OSHA; this was done with a memorandum of understanding that FMCSA signed last year.
The only final rule that seems to be exactly on schedule at the moment is one for safety fitness determination, which will be due for release by the end of October.
Our trucking accident law firm in Virginia often notes that FMCSA is often overwhelmed by its job of ensuring that tens of thousands of trucking companies across the US are operating safely. We also have seen the trucking industry hard at work to water down essential trucking safety programs initiated by the FMCSA. For example, the agency launched the Compliance, Safety and Accountability program in 2010. The purpose was to target inspection and enforcement actions toward truck and bus companies with the poorest safety records.
The heart of this program was an updating score that counts the number of equipment, training and recordkeeping violations each firm has, and also how many accidents each truck and driver has had.
Representatives from trucking and bus companies were able to get the scoring system watered down, such as changing the definition of the term ‘fatigued driving.’ We find this particularly wrong, as drowsy truck drivers lead to many fatal crashes.