FMCSA’s Agenda for 2013—Unsafe Carriers and Mandated EOBRs

Anne Ferro, FMCSA Administrator, addressed the National Tank Truck Carriers conference on April 30 and discussed FMCSA's upcoming agenda. Agency goals include pursuing a revised commercial vehicle registration system, creating a clearinghouse of drug and alcohol info for drivers, passing an electronic logging mandate, and conducting a hunt for "chameleon" carriers - that is, companies that have been shut down for safety violations but restarted under a new name.

This brings up an important topic -- safety records and ratings in the trucking industry. Fatal accidents between a truck and car are down 28% since 2005, but there are still about 10 deadly accidents per day on average.

The FMCSA has been in the news a lot lately for shutting down unsafe bus operators, but Ferro says that does not mean they are ignoring unsafe trucking companies. Since the beginning of 2013, the agency has shut down 12 bus companies and 7 trucking companies. Catching these companies that are operating unsafely is going to be a priority this year.

Regarding the EOBRs:  FMCSA should have a proposal by September 30 and a final ruling by 2014. Ferro says that many carriers have asked for the agency to create a more level playing field so that carriers operating illegally do not receive a competitive advantage. However, this same mandate brings up privacy concerns and feelings of distrust among many truck drivers who believe it will bring a sense of "Big Brother is watching" to their truck -- their home away from home.

I'm interested to hear your feelings on the matter -- what do you think about FMCSA requiring EOBRs in trucks? Please share your thoughts below!

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(Image via ParaScubaSailor, Flickr)