Tuesday, January 26, 2010

ATA Continues Its Push For Freight Truck Driver Safety

Association Continues Lobbying for Sleeping Berth Options
Shipping News Feature

US - Following on from our piece on the 21st January the American Trucking Association (ATA) yesterday used their appearance before the latest Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) “listening session”, held in Los Angeles, to reiterate the role of drivers Hours of Service regulations in reducing truck related fatalities since their inception.

The ATA have been pressing hard for a change in the rules to allow drivers more flexibility as to when they can take rest periods. They have welcomed the drivers Hours of Service legislation but insist more should be done by the FMCSA, firstly by focussing on sleep disorder awareness, training and screening, secondly promoting the use of Fatigue Risk Management Programmes, and increasing the availability of truck parking on important freight corridors whilst partnering with the trucking and shipping communities to develop an educational process that identifies for drivers the location of available truck parking.

As mentioned in our last article since the new HOS regulations took effect in 2005, the rate of persons injured in large truck crashes has dropped 25 percent and the truck-involved fatality rate has dropped 22 percent. One of the major concerns now is to recognise and treat the all too common cases of sleep apnoea. Truckers, with a sometimes sentient lifestyle, are often prone to the problem which is both easily diagnosed by way of a polysomnogram or sleep study and treated by way of such things as Cpap and Bipap machines.

The most recent figures from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) indicate that the truck-involved fatality rate in 2008 declined 12.3 percent to 1.86 per 100 million miles, from 2.12 per 100 million miles in 2007. This decline marks the largest year-to-year drop ever and the fifth consecutive year the fatality rate has dropped. Persons injured in large truck crashes went from 44.4 per 100 million miles to 39.6, an 11 percent reduction.

The final listening session will be hosted by the FMCSA to hear the case for and against changes to driving regulations being requested by special interest groups in Davenport, Iowa on the 28th January.