On any given day, the issue of truck safety may not be a front-page headline in North Carolina. But you can be sure that it won’t be long before the topic comes back around. Federal regulators responsible for motoring safety raise their concerns regularly, as we have observed previously in this blog.
And just this past week, a former executive with the American Trucking Association, the industry’s leading representative groups, stirred things up again. He wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times in which he blasted the ATA and the industry for maintaining opposition to efforts to beef up safety regulations and the government’s capability to enforce them.
But it was an item that ran on FleetOwner.com that captured more of our attention this week. Its focus is on how trucking industry bad actors are coming up with more creative ways to cheat on the tests drivers are required to take to obtain commercial driver’s licenses.
One example of such a scheme took place in New York City. Eleven people were charged and have either been convicted or pleaded guilty in the case. According to the official complaint, they were alleged to have provided CDL test cheaters with various methods to cheat on exams. In all, officials say the group helped some 500 people cheat on the tests between 2001 and 2012.
Just how many people around the country might be getting their licenses through such illicit means isn’t clear, but the problem is big enough that regulators are stepping up their game to stop it. Officials with the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators report that more states are beginning to counter fraud by making test questions more random. Many states are also cracking down to make sure testers aren’t corrupt.
Federal officials are worried, too, because of concerns that terror groups might seek licenses by fraud to mount attacks in the country using trucks.
It’s good to know that regulators are not oblivious to this issue, but it does beg the question — how many invalidly licensed drivers are there on the road as a result of such bad acts? And what are the implications for victims of trucking accidents they may cause?