Federal bill seeks to improve trucking safety
The truck safety portion of Senate Bill 1950, the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enforcement Act, passed the Senate Commerce Committee by a narrow margin and is now headed to the Senate floor. The purpose of the safety provisions of the bill is to improve commercial vehicle safety as well as to reduce the number of commercial truck accidents and resulting fatalities.
The bill would amend title 49 of the U.S. Code to require “comprehensive electronic onboard recorders” for commercial vehicles. The bill would give the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration additional responsibilities, including the duty to create a “clearinghouse for drug and alcohol test results,” a written exam for new truck drivers to test their driving proficiency and a system for employers to be notified of driver violations.
The bill also would require additional studies to determine if it is possible to develop standards of “crash worthiness.”
A provision of the bill that would have created a national freight policy caused concern because of its lack of funding. This provision was not supported by some senators, and as a result, nearly defeated the safety provisions of the new bill. However, a proposed amendment that would have taken the national freight policy out of the bill narrowly failed, so the bill passed the Senate intact.
The bill has been referred by the committee to the entire Senate for consideration. If the bill is approved by the Senate, it must then be sent to the House for the same process. If it passes both houses, it is then sent to the President, who has the option of signing the bill into law or vetoing the bill.