How Safety Regulations Reduce Truck Accidents

Photo of a truck accidentAmerica’s commercial trucking industry is an important contributor to our economy, helping facilitate the distribution of goods and providing jobs. However, like most industries, it is in need of regulation to protect workers and other people who may be affected by it.

In previous blog posts, we have written about the importance of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in setting worker safety regulations and investigating violations, so we felt it appropriate to share with our readers the importance of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

What is the FMCSA?

In early 2000, the FMCSA was established as part of the Department of Transportation to regulate the trucking industry by implementing policies that would help reduce the high number of truck accidents. The FMCSA can then investigate and shut down motor carriers that ignore these policies or do not follow them at all.

How Does the FMCSA Work?

There are several ways to describe how the FMCSA works towards reducing truck accidents, but for simplicity’s sake, we are going to focus on two.

Establishing safety guidelines and ensuring compliance is not the only way the FMCSA contributes to safety and preventing truck accidents. By improving information systems and commercial motor vehicle technology, it can play an important role in ensuring that both motor carriers and truck drivers have the tools they need to hire and drive safely.

One recent example of using new technology happened when the FMCSA revised its data collection system for highway inspections. In doing this, roadside inspectors have an easier time catching maintenance and moving violations.

The FMCSA can also establish standards for commercial driver’s license testing and eligibility. Recently, there has been a push to test drivers for obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition that can obstruct breathing, wake up people several times a night and contribute to daytime drowsiness.

Licensing standards also ban potentially dangerous truck drivers who have a history of substance abuse, moving violations or criminality.

What is an Example of a Safety Policy the FMCSA Uses to Prevent Truck Accidents?

We have talked about the hours-of-service rules on our blog before, but it will help explain our point if we recap why it is an important regulation.

Truck drivers can work over 10 hours a day, in some cases hitting 80 hours a week. Due to the high workload involving long hours on the road and little sleep, truck driver fatigue has caused numerous accidents.

Hours-of-Service regulations were put into place to reduce the number of hours truck drivers could work every week. In addition, the 34-hour restart rule was implemented, requiring drivers to rest for 34 hours after hitting their hourly limit for the week.

Spevack Law Firm wants to help hold irresponsible and negligent motor carriers who injure others accountable for their actions. You can learn more about truck accidents by visiting our Middlesex County injury lawyers’ website.

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Did You Know? The FMCSA has found a pattern of poor safety enforcement in truck accidents, with an average of 20 percent of truck inspections turning up safety violations.