Just about everything.
In a nutshell, a complete lack of familiarity and related confidence concerning small commercial vans and trucks is what is admittedly baffling federal safety regulators presently.
What officials from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration point specifically to when they concede confusion and frustration is this: a lack of control and relevant grasp over the progressively increasing numbers of comparatively small commercial vehicles now operating on state and national roadways.
The FMCSA’s specific concern is with delivery trucks and vans within a 6,000 – 10,000 pound weight range. Those conveyances are highly favored by retailers nationally that are now making home deliveries of their products on an unprecedented scale.
That of course owes to the massive and ongoing health pandemic. A byproduct of COVID-19 is the emergence of a virtual army of smaller commercial vehicles crisscrossing all across the country.
That worries safety gurus more than a little. They profess to lagging on oversight to a degree that is unsettling, and they want more information on matters ranging from crash rates and linked injuries to the industry’s safety practices and more.
“We need to do a deeper dive into this,” said FMCSA official Larry Minor recently. “[T]his is one of those instances where you don’t know what you don’t know.”
The agency actually lacks any authority at all to presently regulate vehicles in the above-cited weight range. Officials deem that a dire oversight needing to be quickly remedied.