In 2012, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration unveiled a new plan to reduce truck crash fatalities by 2016. To do this, the agency developed new credentialing and driver safety standards, created new programs designed to weed out high-risk motor carriers, and aimed to expand its regulatory reach to include shippers and receivers.
Key points of the FMCSA five-year plan included the following:
- Stepping up efforts to only allow qualified drivers behind the wheel of commercial vehicles
- Preventing poor carriers from operating under new names
- Addressing safety issues in more sectors of the industry
- Improving the effectiveness and efficiency of rule enforcement
- Reducing unsafe or risky commercial driver and carrier behaviors
The goal of these steps, according to the plan, was the creation of a "Safety 1st Culture," which focused on all groups involved in transportation: shippers, receivers, brokers and freight forwarders. The FMCSA was on a mission to create "the safest commercial motor vehicle industry (by) focusing on outreach, oversight and enforcement resources."
How Did the Plan Impact Crash-Fatality Rates?
While road accident fatalities have steadily fallen over the past few years, fatalities in accidents involving large commercial vehicles have risen. In 2012, there are a 3,921 people killed in accidents involving large trucks. By 2013, reports showed that 3,964 people had been killed in truck accidents. In 2014, the numbers saw a drop to 3,660, lower than the 2012 starting point but still a significantly concerning number of fatalities.
Clearly, the FMCSA is correct about the need for a reduction in unsafe industry practices that allow for these fatal crashes to occur. As the statistics for 2015 are being compiled, we can only hope that the measures put in place so far are bringing about more positive results and m