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Changes to road safety regulations take time to impliment

Road users in Ohio and around the country would likely welcome regulations designed to keep impaired truck drivers off the road and limit the speeds at which fully laden semi tractor-trailers can travel, but the March 2016 regulatory update from the Department of Transportation indicates that they will have to wait at least a few more months for rules dealing with these issues to be implemented.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration proposed in February 2014 that a nationwide database be set up to keep track of truck drivers who failed a drug or alcohol test or refused to submit to such a test. The FMCSA proposal would also require employers to keep the information about their workers current and check the database before taking drivers on. The rule change was scheduled to be published on July 28, but that date has now been pushed back to August 16.

The DOT regulatory update also changed the projected publication date for a rule requiring speed limiters to be fitted to trucks with a GVWR in excess of 27,000 pounds from April 28 to "spring 2016". The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also supports the measure, which cleared the first round of regulatory hurdles and was sent to the Office of Management and Budget in May 2015.

Logistics companies may be wise to welcome regulations that could prevent 18-wheeler accidents and avoid lawsuits. Truck drivers who get behind the wheel after using drugs or consuming alcohol could face lawsuits if their negligent behavior results in an accident, and their employers may also be pursued in civil court if they failed in their duty to protect the public. Attorneys could make such an argument when employers are aware of widespread drinking or drug use among their workforce but failed to take appropriate action.

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