Federal regulations regarding commercial trucking require states to notify other states when licensed truck drivers incur violations that warrant license suspension. The purpose of these rules is to keep dangerous truck drivers off the road. Unfortunately, however, a recent report by the Boston Globe found that over half of all states routinely fail to comply with this warning requirement.
When a commercial driver receives a license suspension or conviction, the state is supposed to notify other jurisdictions within 10 days. But most state agencies take months (and sometimes years) to send out these warning notices to other states. In some cases, truckers were allowed to continue driving in other states for more than 20 years after a license suspension or revocation.
This is a situation that puts people in danger. A 70,000-pound big rig truck can cause serious injuries and death in an accident. Ensuring that the individuals driving these massive vehicles are qualified and responsible is extremely important. Tractor-trailer trucks cause 5,000 deaths on U.S. roadways each year and that number has been on the rise recently. The habitual failure of state motor vehicle agencies to communicate with each other on truck driver license violations is contributing to this growing problem. The Boston Globe study found that at least 1 out of every 20 commercial truck drivers on the road is illegally driving with an active, unresolved violation of their license.