As one of America’s most long-lived professions, trucking is a proven backbone to interstate commerce. And in today’s fast-paced lifestyle, truck drivers are needed as much as ever to quell the need for instant gratification. But with the hustle of speedy deliveries comes a problem: trucking accidents. When a 40-ton vehicle like a semi-truck is involved in an accident, the outcome is often dire. Due to their enormous size and power, semi- trucks can pose a real danger if not handled by properly trained personnel. As the death toll from these accidents climbs, officials in Mississippi are trying new tactics to remedy the situation.
Raising the Standards for Safety
The trucking industry has recently been under scrutiny as regulators strive to find new ways to make roads safer. A new measure has just been passed in an effort to decrease the number truck related crashes in Mississippi. Late last month, U.S. Senator Thad Cochran announced the addition of two new federal grants valued at $1.08 million with the goal of lowering accidents and fatalities linked to truck drivers. The grants were approved by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and are intended to help the Mississippi Department of Public Safety eliminate unqualified truck drivers through a means of increased monitoring of truck drivers, industry members and related standards.
Zero Tolerance for Truck Driver Negligence
The FMCSA will fund $588,748 to ensure the state’s requirements for truck drivers are met, including compliance with CDL licensing and administration, accurate records of conviction data and accurate system compatibility. An additional $499,844 has been funded in an effort to minimize truck-related accidents in Mississippi. The Department plans to increase safety measures by introducing a zero-tolerance policy for negligent or otherwise dangerous driving. To ensure these measures are met, the FMCSA plans to work with departments within the trucking industry, including various trucking companies within the state as well as the Mississippi Trucking Association.
Better Drivers Mean Safer Roads for Everyone
The Mississippi Department of Public Safety believes a real difference can be made by ensuring the laws and standards already in place for truck drivers are routinely met. Through these efforts, the Department aims to decrease truck-related crashes in the most accident-prone areas of the state by 5 percent, fatalities caused by large trucks by 5 percent, deaths caused by truck rollovers by 25 percent, and eliminate fatalities caused by Hazardous Materials.
Although many truckers have long argued that increased regulation is unjustly targeted and serves to make their jobs more difficult, the Mississippi Department of Public Safety claims that stricter regulations mean safer roads for everyone. Depending on how these new measures do, other states could also adopt stricter standards for driver competence.