Trucking is on the minds of legislators in almost every state as they race against a deadline to implement a new federal mandate meant to improve interstate trucking safety.
The new law takes effect January 30 and requires all states to collect and store medical proof from truck drivers that they are in good enough physical condition to drive. There is already law requiring truck drivers to get medical certification before getting behind the wheel, but the new law will now require states to track this information, along with driving records in a nationwide database. The scramble to meet the deadline has left some states without new regulations in place and no way of processing this information, endangering their federal highway funds.
In fact, states which do not meet the Jan. 30 deadline lose a full 5 percent of their federal highway funds for the year. If they are still not compliant by 2013 that loss will double to a 10 percent reduction in federal highway funds. If the state can show they have a plan in place federal highway officials say they may wait to start punishing non-compliant states until 2014.
These federal highway funds are used to keep highways, overpasses and roads in good shape, which in turn creates a safer driving environment for everyone who uses, whether they are an interstate truck driver or not.
Anyone who has completed a traffic school online knows that at least a portion of what you need to e aware while driving is the condition of the road you are traveling on. Unsafe roads create an unsafe driving environment, and there’s not much a driver can do about it.
So far, Missouri, Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma have all reported they are in danger of missing the Jan. 30 deadline and might suffer as a result.