WASHINGTON — FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez told a U.S. House panel Tuesday that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has made great strides in safety, noting that of the almost 300,000 driver inspections conducted on the “hard” ELD enforcement date April 1, less than 1 percent failed to have an ELD.
The agency, he said, regulates more than half a million interstate motor carriers and nearly 4.7 million CDL-holders.
Unfortunately, he told members of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, much more needs to be done, citing 37,461 deaths in crashes in 2016, an estimated 2,000 over 2015.
In fact, fatalities increased from 2015 to 2016 in all segments of the population, including occupants of large trucks. There were 4,317 fatalities in crashes involving large trucks in 2016, 5.4 percent more than in 2015 and the highest number since 2007, Martinez said.
He said FMCSA will work to bring those numbers down and will continue to hold motor carriers accountable, promote knowledgeable drivers, ensure vehicles are well maintained and encourage innovations in “sound technology to advance highway safety.”
Among the agency’s accomplishments, he listed two 90-day temporary ELD waivers for agricultural industries; more than 550 educational outreach efforts on ELD requirements; and making it easier for military veterans to transition into civilian truck driving careers, including waiving the skills test for military personnel with experience operating heavy vehicles in the service.
He said more than 23,000 current and former military veterans have taken advantage of the waiver.
Martinez said FMCSA is also working to finalize a rulemaking to establish a training program for qualified providers at the Veterans Administration to be certified to give CMV drivers medical exams.
He also mentioned FMCSA’s “under 21” pilot program to allow qualified 18-,19- or 20-year-old drivers with training and experience in certain military occupations to operate CMVs in interstate commerce.
Last but not least, Martinez said the agency is working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration in an effort to responsibly bring automated vehicles to the nation’s highways, noting that FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee had met last summer and will issue recommendations later this year.
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FMCSA chief Martinez tells House panel great strides made in safety but more work to be doneComment
After reading Mr. Martinez’s comments about holding carriers accountable, when is he going to start? When you look at almost any mega carrier’s safety stats, most have crash rates double the industry average. Are these the carriers he’s going to hold accountable? If that’s the case, though I have my doubts, I’ll be the first to stand & cheer. How about we hold people driving cars accountable? I see every day, several times a day, people texting & driving. Cutting trucks off to reach their exits, etc. Something like the aforementioned would be an accomplishment. FMCSA policies are the reason truck crashes are on the rise. Prior to 2009 truck involved accidents were on the decline. Since 2010 FMCSA has issued 71 new regulations, yet truck involved crashes continue to rise. I think you need to look at what you’ve done and start over with a clean slate.