The number of people killed and injured in truck accidents in Minnesota and around the country has risen sharply in recent years, and preliminary data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reveals that a disproportionate number of these accidents involve carriers new to the logistics industry. The data was included in a presentation made by an FMCSA statistician on April 12 during the agency’s annual Analysis, Research, and Technology Forum.
Surge in new carrier registrations
During the presentation, attendees heard that the FMCSA processed approximately 17,000 common-carrier registrations each month in 2021. In 2019, the agency received only about 8,500 applications for operating authority each month. These new carriers had good safety records during their first year of operation and were involved in only 1.3% of large commercial vehicle and bus accidents. By 2021, semi-tractor trailers operated by carriers that had entered the industry in 2018 were involved in 3.5% of the motor vehicle crashes involving large trucks.
New commercial vehicle inspection
Those who attended the FMCSA forum also learned about a new commercial vehicle inspection that will be conducted electronically while tractor-trailers are in motion. During the new Level VIII commercial vehicle inspection, hours of service and commercial driver’s license data will be compared to information in national databases. The FMCSA believes that the new approach will lead to a tenfold increase in commercial vehicle inspections.
When new carriers start to crash more often, it suggests that safety regulations are being ignored and corners are being cut. This could be a sign of lax oversight. Monitoring the nation’s huge fleet of commercial vehicles is a daunting task even for a federal agency, but the new electronic Level VIII inspection could make keeping the nation’s roads safe just a little bit easier.