FMCSA Administrator Warns Trucking Industry to Expect Increased Regulation

Last month, I wrote from my perspective as a Missouri semi truck accident attorney about the proposal to ban use of hand-held cell phones in the cabs of tractor-trailers. As it turns out, that’s just one of several regulations the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is planning for this year. Fleet Owner reported March 16 on a speech by FMCSA administrator Anne Ferro, who spoke at the Trucking Carriers Association convention in San Diego. Ferro told her audience to expect action on rules already proposed, including finalization of the phone rule, as well as several more proposed rules in 2011. The goal, Ferro said, was to ensure that the FMCSA is being “proactive” rather than “reactive” in getting unsafe drivers off the road.
Among the proposed regulations is one that would separate carriers’ accident data from the data on their safety inspections. A proposed rule on this would be published for public comment later in 2011, with the goal of helping identify which carriers have consistent problems with safety performance. Final rules on the ban of hand-held cell phones, and a related ban on texting, would be out this year as well. Ferro also addressed the controversy over the FMCSA’s plan to purchase electronic on-board recorders for Mexican trucks allowed to travel in the United States under a pilot program. The FMCSA has been heavily criticized for this in the trucking industry because U.S. trucks are required to buy their own EOBRs. Ferro reminded the audience that the proposal would only cover a three-year pilot program and that the FMCSA cannot require Mexican trucking companies to buy their own.
As a St. Louis tractor-trailer accident lawyer, I am pleased that the FMCSA is moving forward with regulations. In my experience, the federal government has not been strict enough with the trucking industry. For example, truck drivers were allowed for years to keep sleep and work logs by hand — a system the EOBRs would replace — even though this creates obvious opportunities for them to lie. The reaction to the proposal to buy EOBRs for Mexican trucks is understandable, but as Ferro said to the convention, EOBRs are an important way to ensure foreign truckers are complying with safety regulations. Without such a safeguard, there’s nothing to stop Mexican truckers from flagrantly violating good safety practices, endangering American lives and unfairly competing with American truckers.


At Carey, Danis & Lowe, we represent victims of serious accidents with big rigs, including family members of people who were killed or severely injured. When truckers and their trucking companies make serious mistakes or break safety rules, and someone is hurt as a result, they are legally responsible for all of the injuries and damages that result. That includes all of the financial costs of the crash, which can be quite steep in serious cases: high medical bills, lost income from being unable to work and accommodations for a permanent disability. It also includes damages for the victims’ pain, suffering and permanent losses. Our southern Illinois 18-wheeler accident attorneys help victims get the best possible compensation for these injuries, penalizing serious wrongdoing and allowing victims to get treatment and make ends meet.
If you or someone you love was involved in a serious accident with a truck driver who you believe was at fault, you should call Carey, Danis & Lowe to find out more about how we can help. To set up a free consultation, send us a message online or call 1-877-678-3400 today.