Media outlets in Texas and around the country reported on Jan. 20 that the White House had issued a memorandum calling on federal agencies to place pending regulations on hold until President Trump is able to review and approve them. One of the most immediate results of the memorandum was the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's announcement on Feb. 1 that the scheduled implementation of a driver training regulation was being delayed.
One way that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hopes to reduce the number of accidents caused by distracted drivers is to limit how people can use their cellphones while they are behind the wheel. Cellphone use is a common cause of Texas car and truck accidents, and the NHTSA has recommended that mobile device manufacturers create a driver mode.
Texas truck accidents can be more severe when big rigs are traveling at high speeds. Some safety advocates think that posting speed limits is not enough to prevent truck drivers from causing these crashes. A federal rule proposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration would limit the speeds of commercial trucks electronically.
Texas employees who have to operate a vehicle for their job should know that workplace safety also extends to the vehicles That they use. This is exemplified in a case involving a Nevada-based shipping company who compelled workers to operate forklifts that were unsafe.
From Oct. 16 to 22, commercial vehicle drivers in Texas were under increased scrutiny by law enforcement officers. The weeklong safety campaign, 2016 Operation Safe Driver Week, was put on by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. During the nationwide effort, law enforcement officers conducted 20,648 traffic stops and issued 19,657 warnings and citations in the U.S.
Autonomous vehicles are the wave of the future, and self-driving trucks are set to revolutionize the trucking industry. The American Transportation Research Institute released a report that reveals that autonomous trucks will lead to significant changes in the trucking industry, leading to major regulatory reform and increased safety on the roadways.
Drivers in Texas and throughout the country may be safer after a Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance initiative pulled around 3,900 trucks out of service. Around 2,350 of the trucks taken out of service had brake violations while around 1,100 had both brake and other violations.
Marijuana remains illegal in Texas, but voters in several other states approved ballot measures dealing with the recreational or medical use of the drug on Nov. 8. Voters in California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada chose to approve the drug for recreational use, and the 25 states that already allow marijuana consumption for medical purposes were joined by North Dakota, Florida and Arkansas.
In June, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance conducted its annual road check campaign to inspect trucks in Texas and throughout the country. In October, the organization released a report of the inspections, showing areas where improvements are needed in the trucking industry.
Most truck drivers in Texas and around the country will no longer be allowed to use paper log books to track their working hours after Dec. 18, 2017. That is the day when a new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rule goes into effect that calls for electronic logging devices to be fitted to commercial vehicles with model years starting with 2000. The rule, which was first proposed by the FMCSA in 2010, has had a difficult history, and it has been challenged in federal court on two occasions by truck drivers and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.