President Clinton has signed the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999, designed to reduce highway fatalities by 50 percent over the next 10 years.
The new law will provide for major improvements to the commercial driver license program by allowing the Department of Transportation and states to identify problem drivers more effectively, take remedial action, and get high-risk drivers off the road. It will enable the government to ensure the safety fitness of newly formed motor carrier companies, levy strong sanctions on foreign carriers that operate illegally in the United States, deny entry to carriers not properly registered, and impose fines on violators.
The measure also creates the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a new agency with safety as its mission. In addition, new financing under the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act will help states conduct more inspections of vehicles, drivers, and carriers, and it will pay for a study of causes of crashes as well as a new system for collecting crash data.