NTSB and FMCSA Announce Expansions to Truck Safety Policies in 2015

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According to The American Trucking Association, only about 10% of trucks on the road are equipped with some kind of active safety technology, despite the high frequency of semi truck crashes.

Fortunately, several regulatory agencies are looking to strengthen commercial truck safety in 2015.

The National Transportation Safety Board has placed commercial truck safety on their annual Most Wanted List of top 10 areas that need safety improvements. While the NTSB is primarily responsible for investigating transportation accidents and doesn’t technically regulate any industries, its members can make important recommendations to regulators and to Congress about transportation safety.

NTSB acting Chairman Christopher Hart will be overseeing the truck safety portion of this year’s list. Speaking to Transport Topics, Hart said that the NTSB will approach truck safety as a “broad spectrum” of different policies to address driver fitness, safety technology and vehicle maintenance.

Meanwhile, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has announced that several key items related to safety in the trucking industry have made their way onto its agenda for the year.

The FMCSA is planning to make several changes to revamp the way semi truck safety is evaluated and rated. Changes may include requiring a speed limiter, creating a drug and alcohol testing database, and instituting an electronic logging mandate with a two-year adoption window. There may also be changes to driver coercion protection and insurance minimums.

The FMCSA has also announced that it plans to hold the annual minimum for random controlled substance testing rates at 50% through 2015 for employees in safety-sensitive positions. This includes semi truck drivers and bus drivers.

Because positive random drug testing results have increased two years in a row, the agency may re-evaluate the random testing rate for 2016. For now, however, the FMCSA plans to maintain its current policy, since drug and alcohol use remain a major problem for drivers of tractor-trailers.

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