On Sep. 25, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced the allocation of over $77 million in grant funding to improve safety in the commercial trucking industry. Recipients, which are primarily training institutions and states, will use the grant money to further FMCSA’s goals of reducing crashes and improving roadway safety across the nation.
According to Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, “safety is the [transportation] department’s top priority and these grants will further assist state and local officials in their efforts to prevent commercial motor vehicle crashes.” FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez echoed this, saying that “these important grants demonstrate the agency’s commitment to providing local areas with the resources they need to make a difference for commercial motor vehicle safety.”
The grant money was divided into three classes: High Priority, Commercial Driver’s License Program Implementation and Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator Safety Training.
$43.3 million was allocated to the High Priority class to improve states’ commercial trucking safety efforts and advance commercial motor vehicle technological capability, such as intelligent transportation system applications. Police divisions, universities and state departments of transportation are the recipients of the High Priority program, including the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, which received over $466,000 in funding for the 2019 Fiscal year.
$32 million was allocated to the Commercial Driver License Program Implementation class. The implementation of this program helps states comply with federal rules regarding licensing program and standards. Additional funding is awarded to national groups, such as the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, that help states to achieve compliance.
The last $2 million was allocated to the Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator Safety Training class. Grant recipients consist of 16 various educational institutes that train veterans for jobs as commercial truck and bus drivers. This includes community colleges, vocational-technical schools and truck driver training schools help military members transition into working for the trucking industry. American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear has previously acknowledged veterans as a demographic that may help reduce the trucking industry’s driver shortage, which hovered around 60,000 in 2018.
Michael Leizerman is a truck accident attorney specializing in catastrophic multi-axle collisions. He understands all facets of truck accident litigation; including federal regulations, drug and alcohol testing and hours of service requirements. He has authored a treatise entitled Litigating Truck Accident Cases and often educates other attorneys on trucking laws and regulations. You can learn more about Leizerman & Associates by visiting their website, www.truckaccidents.com.