Proposed Rule is a Big Win for Roadway Safety
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed a new and improved safety rating system last week.
The proposed rule would replace an outdated 34 year-old system of determining whether commercial vehicles are safe enough to be on the road.
The new big truck Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) replaces a three-tiered system of rating trucks to a simple “fit” or “unfit” designation, and thereby removes unsafe tractor-trailers from the road, rather than putting them in a conditional status.
This makes more sense, because a truck is either safe enough to be on the road or should cease operation until it is brought up to par.
The safety of commercial motor vehicles would be assessed monthly, using stricter standards. In addition, critical or acute problems would render a vehicle unsafe.
The SFD system would permit FMCSA to inspect an estimated 75,000 motor carriers each month to determine safety fitness.
This is a huge improvement over the current system, which only permits the FMCSA to investigate 15,000 per year!
The public comment period is open for 60 days. After considering these comments, the agency will issue a final rule.
Let’s hope the FMCSA approves these new guidelines.
Why Effective Safety Inspections Are Important
4,186 tractor-trailers, buses and other large commercial vehicles were involved in fatal accidents in 2013, the last year in which complete statistics are available. Fatal crashes increased by 3 percent in 2013 from 2012, which had a five percent increase over 2011. This statistic shows that truck safety is going in the wrong direction.
The FMCSA rule would subject more large trucks and buses to safety assessments and would change the factors used to make safety determinations. Regulators would review such factors as on-road inspection data, crash reports and investigations that may expose a pattern of legal noncompliance.
Under the new system, about 300 carriers with accident rates four times the national average would be declared unfit and removed from the road until they improve.
Berenson Injury Law Holds Motor Carriers Accountable
Dallas-Fort Worth based Berenson Injury Law holds motor carriers and drivers accountable for safety violations and crashes. Contact our personal injury law firm to schedule a free assessment.