Safety issues await new FMCSA leader

Several key safety issues for truck drivers await a new leader of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association.

New Jersey residents know how difficult and dangerous it can be to share the road with a wide variety of vehicles. People in passenger cars, on motorcycles or on foot are at a serious disadvantage in any accident involving a tractor-trailer or other large commercial vehicle. Negligence, fatigue and other factors on the part of truckers can cause these crashes, leaving innocent victims and their family members struggling with the consequences.

As the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration searches for a new leader, people in New Jersey can be hopeful that safety regulations can continue to improve. Transport Topics indicates that the U.S. President recently nominated a candidate as the new permanent leader for the agency. There will be several issues facing this person, several of which directly impact safety.

How to reduce fatigue among drivers

Truck driver fatigue is a known factor in too many large truck crashes. The FMCSA has been investigating ways to reduce fatigue in drivers for some time. In the early part of 2013, the trucking industry saw changes in the required break times and durations for all commercially licensed drivers. While everyone understands the need to reduce fatigue and increase safety, not everyone agreed with the changes.

At the end of last year, the United States Congress put the new rules on hold according to Supply Chain Digest. The move was temporary in an effort to let the FMCSA more thoroughly study the effects of the changes. Congress directed the agency to provide updated information by the end of September 2015. To date, the study has proved difficult and more time may be required, further pushing out the time when any amendments may be instituted according to OverdriveOnline.com.

The continued problem of impaired driving

Commercial drivers who operate their vehicles while under the influence of alcohol or drugs are a big concern for the FMCSA. For some time, random substance tests have been administered by the agency and, according to Bulk Transporter, this practice is expected to continue at least through the rest of this year. Sadly, the results show that the number of positive tests has been on the rise.

Another way that the FMCSA hopes to reduce impaired driving among commercially licensed operators is to prevent them from being hired into new positions. As explained by the Commercial Carrier Journal, a new process is being setup in which employers must review all candidates' driving records in a central database before they can be officially hired. Additionally, all driving job applicants must pass alcohol and drug tests or they cannot be hired for those positions.

An ongoing problem

While improved efforts by the FMCSA to tackle safety issues are welcome, people in New Jersey must find other ways to take care of themselves. Contacting a lawyer for help after a truck accident is one such way.