Even though the 2011 fatal accident rate was the lowest since 1949, the number of truck occupant deaths jumped nearly 20 percent. Six hundred and thirty-five truck occupants were killed in 2011, compared with 530 in 2010.
Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine proposed new legislation seeking to open interstate highways to trucks carrying larger loads. The legislation will allow trucks with six-axles weighing up to 100,000 pounds to use interstate highways. Snowe explained that current federal restrictions on interstate highways are an example of bureaucratic regulations causing "safety hazards on secondary roads" and increased risk for trucking accidents.
A new highway bill sponsored by the Obama administration will seek more authority by expanding the role of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Several regulations have been created to help remove unsafe truck drivers from the roads. Trucking company policies that fail to address safety issues, such as drug testing and the number of hours commercial truckers can drive during and in-between shifts, are under scrutiny to determine effectiveness.
As manufacturers design new vehicles, they go through a number of tests to ensure passenger safety in the event of a crash. In fact, most cars are tested to ensure that you can walk away from any accidents that occur at 35 mph or less.
When driving on the freeway and you find your car wedged between two large semi-trucks, barreling down the road, do you ever think, "I wish they'd slow down?" If the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gets its way, limited speeds will be the law for commercial trucks.
When you hear the term "Most Wanted" list, your thoughts probably turn to mugshots hanging on post office walls or true crime shows on television. Chances are you don't think about wish lists created by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). But that is exactly what the NTSB creates each year - their annual Most Wanted list, complete with what trucking-related regulations and motorist oversight they would like to see implemented at national, state and local levels.