Motor Carrier Safety

Each year on average about 4,000 people die in truck crashes and more than 100,000 are injured. In fatal crashes involving a truck and passenger car, 97% of the fatalities are occupants of the passenger vehicle. Advocates' safety priorities include stronger oversight and enforcement of motor carrier safety rules.

On June 29th, 2012, the House and Senate passed the surface transportation reauthorization legislation, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), Public Law 112-141. This law includes important truck safety provisions that will protect both truck drivers and motorists alike.


Truck Size and Weight

Bigger trucks mean bigger safety problems on our highways in terms of increased deaths and injuries and significant damage to our roads and bridges which threaten all motorists. Advocates continues to support the Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act (SHIPA), which would freeze truck size and lengths on the National Highway System, including the Interstate system.  MAP-21 was passed with language requiring a comprehensive truck size and weight study to provide data on crash frequency and the impact of large trucks on safety and infrastructure, with a report to Congress in two years. The new law also directs a compilation and listing of existing state size and weight limits that exceed federal Interstate limits, with a report to Congress in two years. Advocates will continue to monitor and oppose any potential exemptions to federal truck size and weight regulations.


Electronic On-Board Recorders

MAP-21 also includes a provision which directs issuance of a rule within one year to require the use of electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) in all commercial motor vehicles operated in Interstate commerce by drivers subject to hours of service regulations.  Advocates has pushed for the required use of EOBRs to enforce hours of service (HOS) rules for decades at the DOT and in Congress. This important safety tool has broad support from motorists, truck drivers, law enforcement, private sector employees, public health advocates, and crash victims.
EOBR Fact Sheet: Click here for a fact sheet on EOBRs.
Support for EOBRs from Advocates, American Trucking Associations, International Brotherhood of Teamsters - click here for a letter to Congress urging support for this important provision.

Other truck safety provisions in MAP-21 include:

  • Tougher oversight for violations of motor carrier safety rules, such as reincarnated drivers and out-of-service orders
  • Stronger registration requirements, including disclosure of common ownership or management, written proficiency examination for new entrant motor carriers, and safety fitness of new operators
  • Requires a comprehensive analysis on the need for crash-worthiness standards for commercial motor vehicles
  • Establishes a national clearinghouse for controlled substance and alcohol test results of commercial motor vehicle drivers
Ed Slattery speaks at Advocates’ press conference on May 31st, 2012. Ed’s wife Susan was killed and his two young sons seriously injured when a truck driver fell asleep behind the wheel of his triple-trailer truck and rear-ended their car. Please click here for his full remarks. 


Motor Carrier Safety Resources:

Fact Sheet on the Danger of Large Trucks

Advocates' Testimony before Congress on Motor Carrier Safety:

July 21, 2011
Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee- Testimony by Jackie Gillan on "Making Our Roads Safer: Reauthorization of the Motor Carrier Safety Programs".
Click here for the full testimony.

Advocates' Regulatory Comments about Motor Carrier Safety:

Please click here for the full list of comments since 2010.



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