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Truck accidents: group seeks stronger truck safety rules

Regulations should be amended to require logging devices, hair testing, speed limiters and other safety features that could prevent truck accident deaths and injuries, according to the Trucking Alliance. The advocacy group, comprised of freight transportation carriers, made this request in a recent letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao.

North Carolina residents may be shocked to hear that in 2015, there were 4,067 fatalities from accidents involving commercial trucks. These included 594 drivers of commercial trucks. Another 116,000 people were injured in these accidents.

The Trucking Alliance, through this request, is seeking a safety record comparable to U.S. airline industry. It asked for industry-wide adoption or support of five safety rules that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration proposed or implemented.

The first regulation is the requirement that all interstate commercial trucks use electronic logging devices, instead of paper logbooks, to verify compliance with rules limiting the maximum number of hours of driving for preventing driver fatigue. The FMCSA claimed that a paper trucking log may be manipulated.

It also supports rules being drafted by the FMCSA that would allow hair testing for drugs. The proposal would permit this an acceptable alternative to urine testing.

Next, it supports a maximum speed setting of 65 mph for these vehicles. The Alliance, accordingly, endorses a FMCSA-proposed rule mandating the installation of devices that limited the speed of commercial trucks.

The Trucking Alliance also argues that a $10 fee for each pre-employment screening report is too expensive for many carriers. It asked for the renegotiation of this fee.

Finally, the Alliance requested an increase of the minimum insurance requirement for motor carriers. This was set at $750,000 in 1980.

Trucking accident victims may face catastrophic consequences because of the large difference in size between a commercial truck and other vehicles. An attorney may assist victims and their families in pursuing compensation for medical expenses and lost wages.

Source: Safety & Health Magazine, "Freight-carrier alliance calls for support of truck safety regulations," April 18, 2017

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