DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-Fax™
Week of March 12, 2012
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FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro has announced a new proposed rulemaking on treating and detecting sleep disorders in truck drivers.
National Speed Limit Closer to Existence?
Chalk this one up to the open government initiative: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has laid out the agencies plan to combat the problem of truck drivers with sleep disorders.
Over the next few years we can expect guidance on diagnosing sleep disorders, plus a notice of proposed rulemaking and a final rule regarding sleep apnea. While the agency is usually fairly fastidious about following the usual rulemaking process, Ferro said that it would be issuing the guidance as a quick to implement stop-gap measure.
The first measure is to issue guidance to medical examiners detailing how to detect and to treat sleep disorders in truck drivers.
That would be the second major move this year by FMCSA to regulate the people performing physicals on truck drivers. On March 30, a Final Rule that would create a national registry of qualified medical examiners is expected to be published. That Final Rule would also require that medical examiners undergo mandatory training, testing and certification before being place on the registry.
Ferro also stated that the agency would look to create a formal, Final Rule concerning Sleep Apnea. That condition, which prevents sufferers from getting restful sleep has been the cause of a great deal of alarm over the last few years.
FMCSA researchers claim that driver fatigue is the root cause of 13% of truck crashes. Over the past several years the agency has done a great deal to combat driver fatigue, including the new hours-of-service regulations plus the creation of the Driver Fatigue BASIC as a part of the CSA system.
As always, Fast-Fax will keep you up-to-date on these issues as they get closer to becoming regulations.
The Truckload Carriers Association becomes the latest big voice advocating a national speed limit for trucks on the interstate.
It has been a long time since we had a national speed limit on the interstate. For some states, it has also been a long time since trucks and cars had the same speed limits. While cars can move at 65 or even 70 mph, trucks get stuck at 55 mph.
Now, the Truckload Carriers Association has become the latest of the major industry players to endorse a national speed limit for trucks of 65 mph. Other groups that have already endorsed the increased speed limit include the American Trucking Associations.
While there isn’t complete consensus, a number of safety advocates have called for a unified speed across the interstate system. The last time there was a national speed limit (of 55 mph) there was conflicting data on the safety issue.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety claiming that increasing limits from 55 to 65 mph on rural roads caused a 25-30% increase in fatalities. On the other hand, the University of California Transportation Science Center found that, under the same circumstances, there was a 3-5% decrease in fatalities.
While TCA’s endorsement is getting a lot of press, we wouldn’t recommend holding your breath for a new rule any time soon. A national speed limit would be controversial and the required raising of the limit in some states to be greater than 55 would surely raise the ire of the safety advocates. TCA’s endorsement is a welcome coup for advocates but there is a long way to go before a national speed limit becomes a reality.
Editor: Roxanne Swidrak, Vice President, Operations • 1-800-253-5506 • www.FoleyServices.com • Vol. 111, No. 729 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 2011