Long hours and thousands of miles on the road can cause commercial truck drivers and their vehicles to become physically worn down. Unfortunately, both create a safety hazard for other motorists on the road. This is why the federal government regulates semi-truck safety inspections and the number of hours truckers can spend behind the wheel.
The U.S. Department of Transportation recently proposed a new procedure for conducting and documenting regular safety inspections. Under existing rules, truckers must fill out a report for the routine inspections conducted before and after a trip. On the other hand, the new regulations would require a report to be filed only if a problem is found. Will this change create more efficiencies or will it allow room for safety lapses?
A pre- or post-trip inspection could identify potential mechanical failures on a truck. For example, a tire blowout on the road could cause a major truck accident, but the underlying problem could be detected in an inspection of the commercial vehicle. If trucking companies or individual drivers begin to relax the standards for inspections based on changes in regulations, serious trouble could result. Motorists don't deserve to be put in harm's way.
When a driver is on the road, they have an obligation to do what they can to protect the safety of others on the road. Not only does this include conduct behind the wheel, but motorists should also take steps to make sure their vehicles are road ready. The same principle applies to over-the-road truckers and their employers.
If the new regulations are implemented, the hope is that trucking companies maintain safety standards. Knowing this, motorists in Colorado may wish to follow this story as it develops.
Source: Claims Journal, "Proposal to Save Trucking Industry $1.7B a Year Won’t Disrupt Safety Standards," Aug. 1, 2013