The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires a review of three years of driving records for commercial motor vehicle drivers. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has suggested a review of 10 years of driving records (article). The recommendation comes as a result of the NTSB investigation into a March 2011 bus crash (NTSB press release and report). The NTSB recommendations are intended to prevent similar crashes in the future, but they do not necessarily address the cost of complying with the recommendations.
There are instances when regulators propose rules that are not proven to result in improved safety. For example, some carriers believe that elements of the FMCSA CSA safety program do not accurately measure safety. When such rules also bear significant costs, motor carriers are faced with increased costs of compliance, yet no tangible, proven benefits, either to the public or to the motor carriers. Truck safety has been vastly improved in recent years. There is also an emerging shortage of truck drivers as the average driver age continues to rise. With trucks delivering 70% of the nation’s freight, it is important that the nation regulate truck drivers in a way that considers the costs of compliance. If truck driving is not seen as an attractive occupation, the driver shortage will drive up costs throughout the economy. Truck safety is an important goal and one that must be achieved through common-sense rules and a public-private partnership.