U.S. Senator Blasts FMCSA For Lack Of Accountability And Increased Crashes

Topic 29080 | Page 1

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DaveW's Comment
member avatar

Hard on the heels of a recent criticism of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of the Inspector General comes a tersely worded letter from a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts charging the FMCSA with allowing "trucking companies across the United States to operate with minimal to no federal accountability."

U.S. Senator blasts FMCSA for lack of accountability and increased crashes

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Shadowy Figures? More shadowy than your garden variety politician or beat writer hawking for a juicy story? What a gross misrepresentation of the truth.

The Globe looked at one company; thus we are all now put in this bucket of “less than desirable“. One company and it’s the de facto standard of operation for the entire industry? The media is lazy...do your damn homework!

That said...I have noticed a huge uptick in bad driving behavior by many Commercial drivers. Chronic tailgating, poor lane control, texting (yes) and a basic ignorance of posted speed limits is rampant and at times has me rethinking my future as a driver. There are certain roads I now go 10 miles out of my way to avoid (I-78 through Kutztown Pa).

The absurdity of the issue is most of the companies the majority of us drive for have zero tolerance for such behaviors, have effective tools in place to enforce compliance, enabling them to systematically shed their ranks of bad drivers. Yet we are the brunt of jokes and the bane of the trucking world?

It’s upside down. I don’t have the answers but at the root of it; we are a bottom of the supply chain commodity that is driven primarily on price and freight rates. If the bar is raised on driver qualifications/compliance, it will require a raise in pay to attract better qualified people and retain them. The problem with that? No consumer wants a 10% (for instance) increase in their grocery bill so the freight carrier can maintain their 3% profit margin after paying their drivers more money. For me...until that is addressed, everything else is just a bandaid.

I’m hoping we can all provide comment and input to this problem. A problem that is likely to get worse, not going away and effect us all negatively.

Be safe everyone! Your life depends on it!

Peace.

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar
That said...I have noticed a huge uptick in bad driving behavior by many Commercial drivers. Chronic tailgating, poor lane control, texting (yes) and a basic ignorance of posted speed limits is rampant and at times has me rethinking my future as a driver.

I've been seeing stuff out there lately that has me jumping out of my skin. Not from "major companies" but smaller independents.

I was on I-95 yesterday, neck and neck with a rig doing 70 (in a 55) - 1 CAR LENGTH BACK from a car. Didn't see if he was texting or not. But plainly in NO POSITION TO STOP and avoid a crash if he had to. Like, there's "following too closely", then there's WT-Fin-F dude.

With everyone "singing the praises" of the industry, for delivering the toilet paper during this (cough cough) pandemic - it seems like some people have let it go to their heads, and are operating with TOTAL DISREGARD for the fact they ARE NOT THE ONLY ONES ON THE ROAD.

Aside from the "click-bait" of the boston globe story - this is (again) way more endemic in the smaller companies, that figure to save profits by not properly maintaining their vehicles (or just aren't capitalized enough to do so) - ignore driver safety violations (including log cheating) in order to make $$.

This falls into line with the opinions frequently voiced here - towards people who want to buy their own trucks (no disrespect meant towards the couple of guys here, who are owners BUT DO THINGS THE RIGHT WAY) - without realizing that unless you are properly capitalized (reserve capital for maintenance/etc.), the ONLY WAY TO NOT LOSE $$ - IS TO CUT CORNERS. And cut corners ALMOST ALWAYS COME AT THE EXPENSE OF SAFETY. Both for the driver - but more important - FOR THE MOTORING PUBLIC (which is where INDUSTRY AS A WHOLE gets a black eye).

While the offenders are not a HUGE SEGMENT of the industry - the damage is visible enough for ALL OF US to take the hit.

Rick

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Totally agree Rick. Especially this...

I've been seeing stuff out there lately that has me jumping out of my skin. Not from "major companies" but smaller independents.

The tailgating is totally off the charts. It’s ridiculous, reckless, and totally ignorant. Most of the drivers behaving in this fashion don’t believe there us anything wrong or dangerous about it.

If I chronically drive like that I’d be fired after the third infraction. And yes tailgating will invoke a camera event at Swift. There are different levels of severity. Suffice it to say there are drivers regularly let go for chronic tailgating. Unfortunately they are quickly hired by companies that place a lower value on safety and only care about speed. We all know the worst, most visible offender of this... small time contractors pulling highly visible, branded trailers. Nuff said...

It’s disgusting and embarrassing.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

A senator from Massachusetts wants more Big Government oversight and more regulations too. I'm sure.

What a surprise. #sarcasm

Auggie69's Comment
member avatar

Hard on the heels of a recent criticism of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of the Inspector General comes a tersely worded letter from a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts charging the FMCSA with allowing "trucking companies across the United States to operate with minimal to no federal accountability."

U.S. Senator blasts FMCSA for lack of accountability and increased crashes

Markey's more a member of the Politburo than a US Senator.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Jrod's Comment
member avatar

Unfortunately, deaths are up and accidents are up, and while the vast majority are because of 4-Wheelers... its not all of them.

It looks like they got their finger on the right pulse, based on that article. Its some of these smaller, independent companies, perhaps Chicago based companies with roots in Eastern Europe (Not exclusively, by any means). Pull a PSP report and most large carriers have clean inspections, but you'd be shocked at what I have seen from smaller carriers. Technically, vehicle inspections are "on the driver" but many of the things I see on the DOT reports from smaller companies just scream "drive the truck or you're fired" type scenarios. I don't think things will change much for the 100+ trucking companies, but for some of the smaller outfits that may (or may not) have been skirting the rules? I think they better prepare for a flashlight to be shoved up their tailpipes because its coming.

Some of this might just be capitalism too. The Megas aren't off the hook. They have the most influence and the most pull in DC, and the Mega Carriers also make Mega campaign donations. Some of these smaller companies DO need cleaning up, no argument from me, but at least some of this Senatorial beatdown smells like a "market share" power grabs from the big guys. Unfortunately, because fatality accidents are up and there are so many smaller companies skirting the rules, they have a perfect smoke screen to pull a power move against some of the smaller carriers who might be hauling freight that they want.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

"The ELD implementation will make all the highways safer!"

That was the battle cry a few years ago, after extensive studies, comments, hearings, "expert" input, think groups, and tens of millions of dollars.

When and where has it happened?

It's not even safer at shippers/receiving or truck stop parking lots! Who here hasn't seen an idiot going through the fuel island at 20 mph? How about the marked 45 mph construction zones? "My log shows I'm behind, so I'll make up some time here doing 62 mph (wide open with my speed limiter)..."

Time for another study I'm sure.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

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