New federal rules affecting driver hiring took effect in late October that require employers to review the safety records of prospective bus and truck drivers and outline the minimum driver safety performance history data that former employers must make available to prospective employers. To read the rule, visit http://dms.dot.gov/search and search Docket 2277.
National Transportation Safety Board’s revised Most Wanted Safety Improvements list calls for changes in motor carrier fitness rating procedures to prevent motor carriers from operating if they put vehicles with mechanical problems on the road or unqualified drivers behind the wheel. NTSB also recommends eliminating flaws in the process of medically certifying drivers. Further details can be found at www.ntsb.gov.
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich successfully lobbied to keep the interstate speed limit for trucks at 55 mph, in defeating a House initiative to raise the limit to 65 mph.
The SAFER website has been redesigned to be more user-friendly and more consistent with other Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration websites. The old address, www.
safersys.org, has been replaced with http://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov.
Delphi Corp. has introduced its new line of Forewarn Collision Warning Systems to alert drivers of pedestrians and obstacles in their blind spots to the front, sides and rear of the vehicle by providing a 360-degree electronic sensor cocoon around the vehicle.
John Doe never enjoyed making runs to Chicago – traffic always was horrible in the Windy City, and the onset of winter in early December only added to the misery. But Doe’s dispatch supervisor guaranteed the downtown drop-and-hook wouldn’t take long, and that after the trip, he would make sure that Doe would be able to enjoy a long weekend at home.
Doe said he’d make the run, though he wasn’t thrilled about it. However, a few days off with his wife and two sons were worth a few hours of hassle, even if he spent most of that time stuck on the Dan Ryan Expressway. But he knew he always could kill some time with some good old-fashioned country music on his satellite radio.
Doe’s drive into Chicago wasn’t as bad as he’d feared, but traffic immediately got worse as he approached the downtown area during the noon lunch rush. He managed to find his exit and get off the freeway before things came to a complete halt, but he quickly discovered that things weren’t much better on the city streets.
At 2:30 p.m., Doe was stopped at an extremely congested intersection, waiting for a chance to make his final left turn, which was onto a one-way, two-lane street. When the traffic signal turned green, Doe completed his turn but was stopped dead by a double-parked U.S. Postal Service truck in the left lane.
Immediately, an outburst of horn blowing and cursing assaulted his ears. It appeared that Doe’s truck was blocking the driver of a new Chevrolet Uplander from exiting his illegal parking space. After waiting for an opening, Doe began inching his truck into the right lane, to go around the postal vehicle. At the same time, the impatient and loud-mouthed Uplander driver also began to move into the right lane – and was struck by the left rear tandem of Doe’s truck!
When questioned by his safety supervisor, Doe complained of faulty steering and argued that other drivers previously had refused his truck. But the Accident Review Committee of the National Safety Council upheld Doe’s warning letter for a preventable accident. According to NSC, Doe failed to check his clearance. Also, assuming his complaint of faulty steering was valid, Doe should have refused dispatch, NSC said.