LEGISLATION AIMS TO INCREASE SAFETY OF ROADWAYS, DECREASE TRUCK CRASHES

A new proposal aims to increase the safety of our nation's roadways by addressing insurance and technology issues in the trucking industry.

The American Trucking Association states that almost 70 percent of freight used throughout the country is transported by tractor-trailer trucks. This translates to over three million truck drivers transporting goods across our nation annually. Although these drivers are helping to fuel the economy, not every driver or trucking company is taking proper precautions.

A failure to follow federal regulations and basic traffic laws can result in accidents. In an attempt to reduce the risks of trucking accidents, legislatures recently proposed a law that aims to modernize safety standards.

Trucking safety statistics

The need for updated trucking laws is supported by data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The federal agency's most recent data reports that there were 3,964 people killed in crashes involving large trucks during 2013. This represents a 0.5 percent increase compared to 2012. An additional 95,000 victims were estimated to receive injuries in these types of accidents.

More on the proposed legislation

The legislation is multi-faceted and aims to change the way insurance, technology, and driver compensation is addressed by both the trucking industry and federal regulatory bodies.

•· Insurance. The proposal would increase the minimum amount of insurance trucks must carry from the current $750,000 to $1.5 million. This would provide greater funds in the event of a crash, making it more likely that victims would receive the compensation they need to cover medical and other bills associated with an accident.

•· Technology. Various technological advances would be required under this law. Two examples are the collision avoidance system and speed limiting devices. The collision avoidance systems would include both forward collision warning and lane departure warning, as the National Transportation Safety Board has found that these systems are critical in avoiding rear-end collisions.

•· Compensation. The law would also require the Secretary of Transportation to mandate that truck drivers receive compensation based on hours worked as opposed to miles driven. This would encourage drivers to operate their vehicles at safe speeds.

Senator Cory Booker, who is spearheading this proposal, notes that although highway fatalities are decreasing, the number of fatal crashes associated with truck accidents has remained stagnant. The changes proposed above could address this issue and help to reduce the number of these tragic accidents.

Remedies available for victims

The NHTSA also reports that 17 percent of large-truck drivers involved in a fatal crash had at least one prior speeding conviction. If a commercial truck is not following the posted speed limit or the driver is acting negligently and causes an accident, remedies are likely available to anyone injured in the crash. Contact an experienced truck accident attorney if were recently injured in a trucking accident to discuss your case and better ensure you receive the full compensation you are entitled to.

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