Al Gore and How the FMCSA Saves Lives

Apparently, without the FMCSA, we’d still be driving horse and buggies, rocks would still be soft, and our life expectancy would be something like 45 years…or so it seems after reading some of the benefits the FMCSA claims about how their rules have helped us (“us” being the industry and society at large).

On February 29 the FMCSA issued a press release claiming in their opening paragraph,

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today released an annual analysis that estimates that commercial vehicle roadside safety inspection and traffic enforcement programs saved 472 lives in 2012.  Since 2001, these programs have saved more than 7,000 lives.


The problem is they are either estimating based on some rather interesting assumptions or they’re looking at certain data and calculating any change in counting statistics as being proof of a “cause and effect” relationship.

The interesting thing is how frequently they claim one thing when the experts see the complete opposite. In 2015 the FMCSA submitted the ELD rule and claimed that the ELDs would save the industry $1billion in efficiency/productivity (some official estimates exceed $2 billion, but I’m quoting the more conservative ones). Industry analysts, however, say that ELDs could cost the industry an additional $700 million in part because nearly 50% of all drivers are owner-operators and have to perform all clerical work themselves. Additionally, the analysts point out, if the ELDs stop working, drivers would have to produce written copies as backups. So drivers will likely have to continue keeping track with written logs and keep the ELDs working too.

Forgive me if I’m being negative or skeptical but I have a hard time believing that the FMCSA has saved 7000+ lives over 15 years via their rule changes. And I believe the biggest benefactor in the ELD mandate are the inspectors. But then maybe we should all stop complaining and thank Al Gore…at least we have the internet now.

Thanks for reading.

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