As we close another year, there are number of issues which are currently affecting the trucking industry. These issues may have a direct or indirect impact on the number of serious trucking accidents and vehicle accidents which take place on our roads in the years to come:
1) The number of hours drivers can drive. Also known as hours of service (HOS), this issue is a highly debated topic. Current regulations and limits have worked, according to advocates. Accidents rates are lower among truck drivers, according to some industry experts. However, there are still pushes to reduce driving hours even further. While some experts advocate this, others question the value of reducing hours further, as this will increase shipping costs and will increase the number of days truck drivers spend on the road, potentially increasing accidents.
2) Cap and Trade. Although regulations controlling emissions of larger manufacturers have not been finalized yet, this is an issue that worries many in the trucking industry. Fuel costs invariably will affect the trucking industry and will eventually result in higher costs for customers as well. Some worry that concerns over costs as a result of increasing fuel prices may lead to decisions by trucking companies to reduce focus on safety.
3) The SAFETEA-LU has lapsed, after being in place since 2005. Industry insiders are expecting another bill, which they hope will offer additional funding and support to the trucking industry.
4) The CSA Initiative. Under this initiative, which is designed to help create safer roads, unqualified truck drivers would be removed from the roads and truck drivers would have to meet strict new safety standards in order to work. Insiders are worried that initially this would lead to a shortage of qualified and safe drivers, although some experts suggest that such a move would help improve overall safety and would help reduce the number of serious truck accidents and their resulting personal injuries.