New Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) programs could reward truck companies based on exceeding safety performance metrics. The new program, named “Beyond Compliance”, aims to improve the safety of commercial motor vehicles by rewarding carriers who exceed the minimum regulatory requirements. Commercial carriers could also be rewarded based on what new adaptive technologies they install on trucks and buses.
According to the FMCSA, an incentive-based approach could be more effective at reducing truck accidents than a penalty-based system. The FMCSA might be basing this idea off a 2007 study done by the Transportation Research Board, which concluded that Beyond Compliance programs could provide incentives for commercial carriers to adopt safer practices.
The FMCSA is looking for feedback in three areas that would factor into whether a commercial carrier is operating within the Beyond Compliance program.:
- Which voluntary technologies and safety programs are appropriate for the Beyond Compliance program.
- Feedback about what types of incentives would encourage commercial carriers to operate within the Beyond Compliance program
- How the FMCSA would verify that commercial carriers are implementing voluntary technologies and programs
How Can Adopting New Safety Programs and Technologies Reduce Truck Accidents?
New Jersey has been the location of several notable truck accidents in the past year. A fatigued semi-truck driver hit comedians Tracy Morgan and James McNair last June, something that might have been avoided with stricter hours-of-service rules or technology capable of preventing collisions. James McNair died and Tracy Morgan sustained a traumatic brain injury.
Over the past few years, several safety programs have been implemented to help reduce the number of truck accidents. For example, hours-of-service rules limited the number of hours truck drivers could operate within a week. Hours-of-service rules also utilized mandatory resting periods to help truck drivers avoid fatigue. Recently, the U.S. Congress has rolled back some hours-or-service provisions.
New technologies could help reduce the number of truck accidents. For example, warning systems can alert truck drivers of an impending collision or even automatically hit the brakes. In the future, truck driving might become more automated, and perhaps one day, not even require a driver.
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