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Trucking Regulations: FMCSA Aims to Simplify CDL Testing

CDL commercial driver inside of his semi-truck.

Will the proposed CDL changes help prevent trucking accidents?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is considering simplifying and revising its commercial driver’s license (CDL) testing requirements and regulations, according to truck news website CCJ Digital.

In particular, the FMCSA believes the proposed changes will “improve the efficiency and convenience of CDL issuance and improve highway safety by further ensuring the integrity of third-party CDL knowledge testing,” according to a statement from the FMCSA reprinted by CCJ Digital.

FMCSA proposed changes for CDL tests

The FMCSA has recently put forward proposed changes to the CDL testing process, which is essential for anyone looking to legally operate a commercial truck. These changes, if approved, aim to streamline certain aspects of the testing procedure. Some key proposed modifications include:

  • Facilitating CDL testing for applicants residing in a different state from where the test is administered, thereby enhancing accessibility and convenience.
  • Granting commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders who have successfully passed the CDL skills test the ability to operate a commercial vehicle without the presence of a qualified CDL driver in the passenger seat.
  • Eliminating the mandatory 14-day waiting period for CLP holders to take the CDL skills test, thereby expediting the testing process and reducing unnecessary delays.

“FMCSA believes the proposed changes will further address CMV driver shortages, enhance supply chain stability, and provide appropriate regulatory relief without impacting safety,” the FMCSA said in a statement published by CCJ Digital.

Other proposed FMCSA rule changes

In addition to the proposed changes to CDL testing, the FMCSA is considering several other rule changes aimed at enhancing safety in the commercial trucking industry. These potential modifications are designed to mitigate the risk of truck accidents and improve overall road safety:

Speed limiter requirement

Requiring commercial trucks to be equipped with speed limiters can help prevent accidents caused by excessive speeding. By capping the maximum speed at a specific limit, this measure aims to reduce the likelihood of semi-truck collisions, particularly on highways and interstates where high speeds can escalate the severity of accidents.

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems

Mandating the installation of AEB systems in commercial trucks can significantly enhance collision avoidance capabilities. These systems utilize advanced sensors to detect imminent collisions and automatically apply the brakes to mitigate or prevent accidents. By incorporating this technology, the FMCSA aims to reduce the frequency and severity of rear-end collisions involving commercial trucks.

MirrorEye Camera Monitor System (CMS) allowance

Permitting the use of MirrorEye CMS as an alternative to traditional rear-vision mirrors can enhance visibility for truck drivers, thereby reducing blind spots and enhancing overall situational awareness. By leveraging advanced camera technology, this system provides drivers with comprehensive views of their surroundings, enabling them to make more informed decisions and react effectively to potential hazards on the road. This change aims to improve overall safety by mitigating the risks associated with limited visibility and blind spots, thus reducing the likelihood of accidents caused by inadequate rearward visibility.

Increase in truck accidents the driving force behind proposed changes

The reasoning behind the proposed changes stems from a notable uptick in truck accidents, driving regulatory agencies like the FMCSA to reevaluate safety protocols within the commercial trucking industry.

Over the past decade, the frequency of commercial truck accidents has surged, with incidents nationwide witnessing a staggering 40 percent increase from 2013 to 2022. This concerning trend, as reported by Freight Waves, is based on comprehensive truck accident data collected by both the FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The spike in truck accidents highlights the critical need for regulatory measures aimed at enhancing safety standards within the commercial trucking industry. As such, the proposed rule changes represent a proactive effort to address the underlying factors contributing to the rise in truck-related collisions and safeguard road users from the inherent risks posed by commercial truck operations.

Seeking legal help after an Indiana truck accident

Collisions involving commercial trucks in Indiana often have very serious consequences. Severe injuries and fatalities often occur, and several different at-fault parties might be involved in the claims process. The financial toll of these accidents can be staggering, which means the stakes are high for everyone involved.

Our Indiana truck accident lawyers at Boughter Sinak, LLC are here to help protect your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve. We know the state and federal laws that apply to commercial truck drivers and trucking companies. We understand how the legal system works. And we know what it takes to build strong cases that get meaningful results for truck accident victims.

Put a proven fighter on your side. Contact our law firm and schedule your free case evaluation with a law firm that knows how to win. We have two offices conveniently located in Fort Wayne and South Bend and handle cases throughout Indiana.

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