Young & McCarthy LLP

Truck safety groups urge Congress to end regulation delay

Commercial vehicle automatic emergency braking systems could prevent many big rig accidents in Ohio and around the country each year, but a regulation that would mandate their installation has been bogged down in Congress since 2006. Lawmakers have also failed to require trucking companies to switch on speed limiting devices that have been fitted to virtually all large trucks sold in America for decades.

Efforts to implement the proposed truck safety regulations have been stymied despite studies revealing how many lives they could potentially save. One such study, conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, suggests that speed-related crashes are about 200 percent more likely to occur when trucks do not have their speed limiters activated. Trade groups such as the American Trucking Associations support speed limiters providing that they are mandated for cars as well as trucks.

A group of road safety advocacy organizations spearheaded by Road Safe America and the Truck Safety Coalition are urging Congress to finally take action that could prevent thousands of truck accidents and tens of thousands of injuries each year, and they think that a pending infrastructure bill could provide a way to break the legislative deadlock. RSA has called on President Trump to intervene if lawmakers once again fail to heed their call.

Carriers that allow their drivers to disconnect or switch off safety systems could face legal consequences even if their behavior does not violate federal regulations. Experienced personal injury attorneys could use this kind of information when arguing that the defendants in truck accident lawsuits placed profits over safety. Other evidence that could establish a pattern of negligence include truck inspections revealing signs of shoddy repairs or neglected maintenance, truck drivers who failed to follow federal hours of service regulations and wireless service data indicating that cellphones were being used when vehicles crashed.

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