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CVSA: Regulatory complexity undermining trucking safety

Truck drivers must abide by numerous regulations, from amount of time they can work on the road to the weight of the cargo in back. In addition, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has about 20 exemptions to existing rules. Carriers and drivers can apply to receive an exemption and be excluded from certain regulations.

The FMCSA is an agency of the Department of Transportation tasked with regulating the motor carrier transportation industry.

The situation is overly complex, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance recently wrote to the FMSCA. "While CVSA does not object to these exemptions on an individual basis, exemptions complicate the enforcement process, causing confusion and inconsistency in enforcement."

In other words, the CVSA, which is an international not-for-profit organization comprised of safety officials and industry representatives, has expressed concern an excess number of exemptions has compromised the integrity and safety of the inspection and enforcement process.

Are trucking regulations overly complex?

The FMCSA has indicated it is reviewing the CVSA letter.

While it is not clear whether the FMCSA will revisit its stance on the number of exemptions, it does illustrate the difficulty of enforcing current regulations. Determining whether cargo meets federal regulations is difficult enough, notwithstanding the exemptions.

The CVSA has said that roadside inspectors "may stop enforcing regulations all together" due to the difficulty in determining compliance.

If that were to occur, it would significantly harm the transportation industry by placing drivers and others on the road in danger. Regulations do in fact help maintain safety on the roads, so long as they are clear and not overly burdensome. Improperly secured cargo, "overloading" and sleep-deprived drivers pose a safety risk.

Regardless of the FMCSA's actions on regulations, it is important that truck drivers and transportation companies have safety concerns as a high priority, for the health of drivers and everyone else on the road.

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