USDOT Taking Steps to Improve Commercial Vehicle Safety

In September 2017, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced awards of over $70 million in safety-focused grants. States and educational institutions received training, education, and technology grants and funding to improve and enhance commercial vehicle safety and reduce accidents.

FMCSA Grants Awarded to Meet Safe-Driving Goals

Injuries and death from truck crashes are a significant and serious public health problem and public expense. While emergency room treatment and hospitalization cost the public billions of dollars annually, the cost for rehabilitation is almost double. To meet the end goal of reducing costs and saving lives, the grants will help ensure greater traffic safety, vehicle safety and that only the safest commercial vehicle drivers share the road with us.
Specifically, the following amounts were awarded in three goal-oriented categories:

  1. $41.5 million in high-priority grants designed to help states improve their safety programs and upgrade safety and highway technology:
    These grants help state commercial vehicle safety efforts and promote better transportation system applications for commercial drivers like truckers and bus drivers.
  2. $30.7 million in commercial driver’s license (CDL) program implementation to help states improve CDL training and education programs:
    This program aims to reduce the number and severity of commercial vehicle accidents. It requires states to:

    1. Conduct enhanced testing of a driver’s knowledge and skills before it can issue a CDL license
    2. Maintain a driving history for anyone who holds a CDL
    3. Impose certain penalties and fines for driving and safety violations
  3. $1 million in commercial motor vehicle operator safety training to each of nine educational institutions to train veterans as commercial bus and truck drivers: A variety of schools offer truck and bus driving training including colleges and universities, vocational-technical schools, driver-training schools for truck drivers and various government agencies. The grants should cover training for over 350 students.

NHTSA Pledges to Create the Safest Roads in the World

The NHTSA has pledged to create the “highest level of road safety in the world.” The NHTSA is shifting more of the burden of improving road safety to states and local communities. It will form partnerships with state and local governments and community-based safety programs to study and address the factors that cause accidents.

The NHTSA has also made some strong statements about negligent commercial drivers taking personal responsibility for their behavior and safety:

If you smoke, drink, do drugs or fail to use proper safety equipment (the report cites seat belts and bicycle helmets as examples), your medical insurance will not cover your injuries.

The philosophy behind this statement intends to incentivize safe vehicle operation by threatening to cancel a truck driver’s health insurance coverage. While this may not directly improve road safety, it sends is a strong message to drivers and may indirectly cause them to become better drivers.

Contact Us If You’ve Been Injured in a Trucking Accident

If truck driver negligence or recklessness caused your Texas accident, reach out for help. Our legal team will explain your options for coverage and help you manage the overwhelming process of recovery and pain management. Connect with us online or call us at 214-377-1623