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Trucking industry mandates proposed for safety of other motorists

In a move designed to protect the public from accidents involving the trucking industry, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is emphasizing the importance of hours of service enforcement.  A recent oversight hearing brought vehement opposition from lawmakers who seem focused on the economic wellbeing of the owners of trucking companies.  

Anne Ferro, the administrator of the organization, testified before Congress to defend the proposed implementation of MAP-21 mandates, with those opposing the new laws citing unintended consequences of the federal trucking regulations that will harm the industry. Those supporting the industry also lodged complaints about a study conducted by the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program by the Government Accountability Office, saying it was based on inaccurate data.

Ferro replied to the criticism of the new laws, emphasizing that the agency is not there to help the trucking industry, but instead to prevent trucking accidents. She said that the agency was created to ensure the safety of other motorists and to reach that goal by improving the safety of trucks and buses which operate under the umbrella of the administration. Specifically, she explained that the goal of the hours of service rule was to address cumulative truck driver fatigue issues in the industry which should outweigh concerns about the financial wellbeing of individual trucking companies.

Opponents of the hours of service rule countered that truck drivers are professionals who know when they are too tired to operate the vehicles. 

Whether the mandates will improve the safety of the trucking industry and protect other motorists on Connecticut highways remains to be seen. But any attempt to save other drivers from often deadly accidents involving large commercial vehicles is a positive step.  A truck company that fails to comply with the mandates may find itself in a position to defend lawsuits brought by those who suffer serious injuries, or the families of those killed, as a result of truckers’ unsafe operations.

Source: CCJDigital.com, “Ferro defends hours-of service change, CSA, in House hearing,” Kevin Jones, March 14, 2014

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