When I hear United States Department of Transportation – I instantly think of the trucking industry. But I guess that is just because I have been involved in trucking and have dealt with the Department of Transportation about trucking. But, I can’t help, but to think that this administration doesn’t look at trucking in a sense that America moves by trucks. It is clear that the DOT obviously thinks bicycles and trains and buses move America – when you follow the money trail.
So with that said, why doesn’t the USDOT do things to improve the trucking industry? The trucking industry has problems in training, parking, pay, regulations, etc. The USDOT under this administration has done nothing to improve any of those real problems – except add to them.
Let’s take a look at what the USDOT has done for trucking thus far. They have placed an unenforceable decree “No sending of Text or Email messages” upon trucking without any such credible study – they have admitted to using general public opinion polls, and a study of 203 CMV drivers. This decree I am concerned about is just for money “if” they can enforce it – because of the immense fine and punishment added to it. CMV drivers convicted of texting while driving would fall into this regulation 383.51 include violating a state or local law arising in connection with a fatal accident; driving a CMV without a proper CDL; speeding in excess of 15 mph above posted speeds; changing lanes erratically; and driving recklessly. And a fine of up to $2750.00 as well. States already have laws for distracted driving and the fines and or punishments is nowhere near this.
If the texting ban was not enough. We have now learned that the USDOT and FMCSA are working to add to this ban to cover a broader range of distractions. Rose McMurray, chief safety officer for FMCSA said: “Once we issue a final rule on texting, we will be developing a second rule examining the full range of other in-vehicle distractions like dispatch systems, using CB radios, etc., and hopefully develop a competent and coherent proposal that reduces risk, but doesn’t unnecessarily affect the legitimate needs for communication with and by the driver.”
Next up the USDOT “thinks” that EOBRs are going to save us all. They want to implement EOBRs on all commercial vehicles to fix the “problems” they see in the trucking industry. Again, there has been no proofs showing that adding an EOBR to a truck will increase the safety. It’s just another cost that will fall upon trucking companies, and then onto consumers.
The next thing we will see is “blinders” being required for truck drivers, and 5 point safety harnesses plus the HANS device. Fatal accidents involving trucks are at the all-time low, and steadily going lower without any of these new rules.
CSA2010 is on the horizon and the USDOT has even said that 175,000 drivers will most likely be unqualified as soon as this goes full-blown. With it and the Medical Review Board, trucking will become extinguished.
Is that the plan to extinguish the trucking industry? Seems like it is a very real possibility. Nothing to improve the trucking industries REAL problems has been attempted by the USDOT. But, they are giving away all kinds of money to trains, buses and bicycles for upgrades to the rail system, and to allow the union transit authority drivers to continue to make over $100,000 per year, and build bicycle lanes that we have to pay for.
It seems to me that the USDOT is really working hard to ensure that this administration is around for a long while – as it is evident they are “buying up votes” – evident by all the money it is slinging to everyone – except trucking. USDOT has teamed up with HUD – US Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business.
If this isn’t “buying up votes” then what is it?
American truck drivers total about 4 million active drivers with over 8 million CDL holders. We could effect change, and change is desperately needed.
EDIT: It turns out that the USDOT has turned loose some of its money for trucking. According to an OOIDA article yesterday 6 million dollars was allocated for trucking parking projects. Well, at least it is a start.
© 2010, Truck Drivers News Blog. All rights reserved.