Tag Archives: enforcement

End Driver Fatigue: Illinois State Police conduct 1650+ truck inspections during “OPERATION SAUTER”

Motor vehicle inspections should be done this thoroughly on a regular basis–not just one day. Monitoring and enforcement plays a big role in preventing crashes due to truck driver fatigue–an ongoing problem. Illinois State Police conduct over 1650 inspections during “OPERATION SAUTER”

And it should be done in every state. Why on earth don’t we establish National Traffic Safety Standards & require them to be adopted by States?

Driving While Fatigued

Monitor truck loads with a weight-identifying sensor/camera system

If Indiana’s experiment is successful — monitoring overweight trucks by using weight-identifying sensors connected to a camera which will take a picture of their license plate — why would we not extend this enforcement technology nationwide?


Here is another opportunity to utilize a Vision Zero goal for dispersing traffic safety technology to enforce federal safety regulations nationwide. . .


See this description of a New Hampshire’s motor carrier vehicle examiners/enforcement team:

  • Weigh Team – Troopers assigned to the Weigh Team are responsible for enforcing state statutes as they pertain to maximum gross allowable weight limits on the roads and bridges of the state of New Hampshire. Overweight vehicles are typically more dangerous on the roads because of the extra effort needed to stop and control the overweight vehicle. Also, the damage caused to the roadways and bridges by each overweight vehicle is significantly more than legally loaded vehicles. The Weigh Team utilizes a state-of-the-art scale facility on Route 93 in Windham and portable scales to check compliance. The goal of the Weigh Team is to protect the lives of the riders traveling on New Hampshire roads while also prolonging the life of the roads and bridges.” http://www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/nhsp/fob/troopg/motorcarrier/http://www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/nhsp/fob/troopg/motorcarrier/

Why should every state reinvent the wheel? What’s the point?

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/

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Road Safety Wake-Up Call: Let’s Not Settle For The Status Quo

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Britain experienced an increase in road casualties in the 12-month period ending September 2014. Some see it as a wake-up call:

“Pete Williams, RAC head of external affairs, said: ‘It is alarming to see that years of progress on road safety appears to have come to an abrupt halt, and in fact we have witnessed the first year-on-year rise in road fatalities and casualties in over 30 years.

‘We need a commitment to a long-term vision of nobody being killed or seriously injured on our roads, rather than settling for the status quo.’ . . .

‘This is surely the wake-up call that is needed to give the topic the attention and resources it deserves.’ . . .

The IAM expressed its ‘disappointment’ at the rise in KSIs, blaming the increase on ‘many years of Government cutbacks and the resulting drop in visible policing’. ”

– See more at: http://www.roadsafetygb.org.uk/news/4171.html#sthash.F1gVBpP8.dpuf

Of course, the responsibility for the occurrence of road crashes, fatalities, and injuries is rightfully a shared matter. Likewise doing something to bring about change should also be shared.

Ignoring the problem is not the answer. Pointing the finger at someone else (while denying your own culpability) is also not the answer. Working together sounds like a good idea to me.

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The Trucking Alliance Speaks Out on Hours of Service Rules

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The Trucking Alliance, in October 2014, made a statement about truck drivers’ hours of service rules which included the following: 

“The stark reality is that until there’s a way to verify industry compliance it doesn’t matter what the federal government’s hours of service rules are for truck drivers, because truck drivers can simply ignore these federal rules. *

They can choose to drive as many hours as they want to drive, and they do every day, because truck drivers are only required to fill out a paper logbook, writing down their driving time, and paper logbooks are easily falsified.

Enforcement of these federal hours of service rules relies on state commercial vehicle safety agencies to conduct roadside reviews and audits. While these agencies perform well, they are largely underfunded and undermanned to assure the public that truck drivers are obeying the law.

So nobody really knows who is and who is not following these federal hours of service rules because paper logbooks easily allow truck drivers to exceed their maximum number of hours behind the wheel.

That’s why the Alliance prefers a deliberate process in which a 2012 congressional mandate is accelerated to require electronic logging devices in all commercial trucks.Congress actually passed this legislation in its last transportation reauthorization bill, called MAP-21, but the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is almost two years behind schedule in implementing this critically important law, a measure that will truly improve highway safety. Every effort should be made to urge the Department of Transportation to accelerate the timeframe for implementing the electronic logging device law, sooner than later.

These electronic logging devices will record driving data that won’t lie. Technology will assure compliance with current rules and also provide objective data to determine how many hours of driving time for truck drivers should be allowed.

Additionally, the Alliance believes that other safety measures can do as much to reduce the number of accidents involving commercial truck drivers and motorists as these hours of service rules. For example, we support another congressional mandate passed in 2012 – to create a national drug and alcohol clearinghouse, which will help identify people who have previously tested positive on a drug and alcohol exam to become a truck driver, as well as related legislation now pending before Congress that will recognize even more effective methods to identify lifestyle drug abusers and keep them out of trucks.

The Alliance also supports speed governors on commercial trucks, an increase in the minimum insurance level for trucking companies and incentives to adopt other commercial safety technologies to reduce accidents on our nation’s highways. These measures will help ensure fewer accidents and safer highways for all Americans.”

Lane Chandler Kidd, Managing Director

October 16, 2014


* We addressed these issues as they related to our crash in a previous post:  http://annaleahmary.com/2014/08/law-enforcement-with-justice-for-all-balancing-truth-love/

Also, here is an update on Electronic Logging Devices from September 2014:  http://annaleahmary.com/2014/09/update-on-electronic-logging-devices/


A Question About FMCSA Monitoring & Enforcement of Underride Guards

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I wrote to a number of people last week about my frustration with the many trucks which I see on the road with underride guards that I am not very confident could withstand a crash. This, naturally, is distressing to someone who has lost a loved one due to an underride guard that did not withstand a crash.

I expressed my concern that little appeared to be happening in terms of monitoring underride guards. I asked them to show me if I was wrong.

This week, I got a reply from Jack Van Steenburg, Chief Safety Officer with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in Washington, DC. This is what he explained to me about their role in monitoring underride guards (among other things):


I will reply to this email as your others on this subject are captured below.

First, let me state that underride protection requirements are identified in our Safety Regulations under 49CFR§393.86,  Rear impact guards and rear end protection. (http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/title49/section/393.86)  This section is covered and taught to all certified Inspectors across the United States in our North American Standard Truck Inspection course.

To date, in 2014 there have been 2,358 violations of this regulation written by Inspectors.  If a traffic ticket was written to a driver for this violation, then he/she is responsible for the violation.  In all cases, the motor carrier has to repair or fix any violation cited on the inspection report within 15 days following the date of inspection.  The states follow up with the carriers to assure the violations are fixed.

The violations cited for this section, and any other vehicle equipment violation, are captured in our safety data and are a component of the formula that drives our CSA Safety Measurement System Unsafe Driving BASIC.  If that BASIC (as well as others) exceeds a certain threshold, then we will take some type of intervention ranging from a warning letter outlining the equipment concerns to a full comprehensive on site compliance review.  There are many penalties a carrier can receive ranging from a notice of violation all the way to an Unsatisfactory rating.  Those processes are set out in our regulations as well.

I might add that all states have adopted the 49CFR §393.86,  Rear impact guards and rear end protection, section within their own laws.

I hope this answers some of your questions.


Jack Van Steenburg”

I replied to his email:


Thank you for your detailed response in describing the regulation, training, and inspection process. I am glad to see that there is a procedure in place.

2,358 violations issued out of 2 million tractor trailers = .12%

Hopefully, the other 1,997,642 (or 99.88%) are in better shape than the ones which received violations this year.

How many trucks operate in the U.S.?
Estimates of 15.5 million trucks operate in the U.S.. Of this figure 2 million are tractor trailers.”
(Unfortunately, there is nothing that I can do to make those existing 2 million trailers have a more effective design. But I wish that I could hurry along even faster the improvement of the underride guards on future tractor trailers!)

Wake up, America: Let’s make our roads safe–together!

Mary's Life

How many people could we save from an untimely death due to a truck crash,  if the U.S. would wake up and follow the example of other countries like the United Kingdom or Canada? Look at how much tougher they are on truckers in Britain – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/road-and-rail-transport/10904178/Foreign-truckers-to-be-fined-for-driving-while-tired.html

And take a look at Canada:


“…Driving while fatigued is comparable to driving drunk, only there is not the same social stigma attached. Like alcohol, fatigue affects our ability to drive by slowing reaction time, decreasing awareness and impairing judgment. Driving while sleep impaired is a significant issue, and is no longer tolerated. Legislation {in Canada} is beginning to change by handling collisions cause by a fatigued driver as seriously as alcohol-impaired crashes.”


Maybe, here in our country, we need a different, less-fragmented approach to solving the problem of truck driver fatigue–one that would bring together Public Health (Driving While Fatigued is a public health issue), Labor (truck drivers need to be paid and scheduled differently), and Transportation (the many factors that go into monitoring our transportation system–including CDL programs, technology, insurance, & safety measures like underride guards) experts. Let’s get the States to work together on this, too, so that the solutions which are created can be more effective through consistency and enforcement.

See how governors are working together: http://ghsa.org/html/issues/impaireddriving/index.html.

And look at this recent enforcement activity: http://cdllife.com/…/troopers-target-trucks-make-59…/

Let’s face it: we can’t get along without the trucking industry, so let’s make it the best it can be!

“Our current consumer driven economy is driven by our ability to offer a wide choice of competing products with wide scale or ‘intensive’ distribution. Consumers take for granted the choices available whether for a ‘commodity’ such as milk or high value products such as electronics. Store direct delivery and delivery of Internet purchases would not be possible without the trucking industry….

Our freight transportation system enables consumers to enjoy the availability of goods which are not produced in their immediate locale because of climate or soil conditions, the lack of raw materials, utilities, or labor, or the cost of production. Such a system allows consumers a choice of goods which would not otherwise be available….

One of the challenges of the motor carrier industry is to maintain tightly scheduled transit times to meet customer requirements….If you don’t believe transportation is important, just ask Etoys.com or KidsRUs.com. Better still, ask Santa Claus who operates the most efficient transport we have ever seen.”  http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/freight_planning/archive/weart.cfm

LET’S ESTABLISH A WHITE HOUSE TASK FORCE TO PROTECT TRAVELERS FROM TRUCK CRASHES! See my detailed recommendations here: Establishing a White House Task Force to Protect Travelers From Truck Crashes (1)