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Safety group files suit for tougher trucker training laws

Several groups, including the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters filed suit against the DOT and the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), seeking stiffer rules for training entry-level truck drivers.

Bloomberg reported that regulators have missed deadlines set by two laws passed by Congress since 1991. According to the article, the FMSCA issued a rule in 2004 that only requires 10 hours of classroom work on such topics as driver wellness and hours of service. The watchdog groups say that rule is inadequate, because it doesn’t require any training for entry-level drivers on how to operate commercial vehicles, according to the complaint.

In 2012, Congress passed a second law (the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” also known as MAP-21) requiring the DOT to issue the entry-level training rule, this time by Oct. 1, 2013. Congress specified that the rule had to include behind-the-wheel training.

According to TheTrucker.com, congress initially told the DOT to finish a rulemaking process on driver training by 1993, but the agency still has not done so. While the FMSCA is dragging its feet, people are dying in truck accidents. Deaths and injuries involving large trucks have been steadily rising. Fatalities were up 4 percent in 2012 and injuries were up 18 percent.

In a press release, the Teamsters Union said that 20 years, and two congressional mandates later, inexperienced truck drivers are still hit the road with no behind-the wheel training. Truck drivers can obtain a nationwide commercial driver’s license through their home state. That generally only requires a written test and brief drive around a closed area, similar to the process of getting a regular driver’s license.

The Teamsters release stated that the annual cost to society from large truck crashes is estimated to be more than $99 billion. Approximately 4,000 people die and nearly 100,000 more are injured annually in truck crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In a statement, Jim Hoffa, Teamsters general president, said, “Proper training is absolutely necessary for new drivers to operate their rigs safely. The agency is shirking its responsibility by not issuing this long-overdue rule.”

It’s imperative that truck drivers receive the proper training, including time behind the wheel, before they can safely take to the road. An untrained truck drive can cause a serious accident.

A crash involving a passenger car and a commercial truck often results in devastating injuries, resulting in medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering. If you have been injured in a truck accident, contact the personal injury lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys for a free consultation and to learn more about your rights. Choose carefully. Choose Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys.

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