Are Changes Coming to Federal Trucking Legislation?

Aug 02, 2019 Personal Injury    Truck Accidents

Posted by: Kisling, Nestico & Redick, LLC

Truck accidents are an unfortunately common occurrence in the United States. In 2017 alone, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported that approximately 450,000 crashes across the country involved large trucks, and of those wrecks, 4,237 were fatal. More than 344,000 involved serious injuries. Due to the size and weight of these vehicles, it’s common for truck accidents to be more severe in nature. With the frequency at which these crashes occur, what can be done to prevent them?

Last month, two bills were introduced in the House that could greatly impact the trucking industry across the country. The purpose of these bills aims to increase trucking companies’ liability insurance requirements, and mandate that new trucks are manufactured with automatic emergency braking systems. Both bills could drastically increase safety and cut down on the number of accidents seen across the United States.

If you or a loved one has incurred harm in a crash involving a truck, it’s important to reach out to a skilled attorney to help protect your right to compensation. For help with your Ohio truck accident case, contact Kisling, Nestico & Redick today at 1-800-HURT-NOW.

Potential Increase Looming for Liability Insurance Minimums

Depending on the size of a truck, the type of materials it’s moving, and the classification of the driver themselves, there is a certain minimum amount of liability insurance that’s mandated by the FMCSA. For the purposes of the new proposed legislation, the amount for motor carriers is $750,000.

The INSURANCE Act, a piece of legislation introduced by Representatives Jesus Garcia and Matt Cartwright, seeks to raise liability insurance minimums, tying that amount to the inflation of health care costs. As of now, that amount would increase to almost $4.8 million – nearly 6.5 times higher than the current rate. On this potential increase, the FMCSA states that the current required minimum of liability insurance for motor carriers “did not adequately cover catastrophic crashes due to inflation and increased medical costs.”

When a truck crash occurs, any number of serious injuries can arise, including, but not limited to:

With the increase in medical costs and rising amount of inflation, it makes sense that the liability insurance requirements would increase – but what do affected parties think of the potential bill that could impact their career? According to the American Trucking Association and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, many truck accidents do not break the current minimum threshold of $750,000, so the increase – to motor carriers and other trucking industry professionals – is unnecessary.

House Bill 3773 – What You Need to Know

The Safe Roads Act of 2019 (also referred to as House Bill [HB] 3733) would require all truckers to install new commercial vehicles with an automatic emergency braking system – which would become standard one year after the legislation’s enactment. This bill, introduced by Democrat Representative Hank Johnson, is similar to legislation introduced in 2011 and 2015, and it aims to prevent further truck accidents that could easily be prevented by this safety measure.

Per FMCSA data, brake issues are a major problem and factor in many crashes involving large trucks. When a driver needs to slam on their brakes in an effort to avoid debris in the road, hitting another vehicle, or simply because of a red light, they need to be confident that those vehicle parts are working, and that their vehicle will come to a stop. If a truck’s brakes are worn-out, malfunctioning, or otherwise in disrepair, everyone on the road is put at risk.

By requiring truckers to outfit their vehicles with an emergency braking system, the Safe Roads Act of 2019 could prevent a great number of crashes, wrongful deaths, and serious injuries.

Hurt in a Truck Crash? Call KNR Today

While the text of House Bills 3781 and 3733 have not yet been made available to the public, the potential legislation is causing a lot of buzz in the trucking industry. Each potential change could have a great effect on truckers and trucking companies, so it would be beneficial to remain aware of it as it moves forward.

If you have questions about how this legislation might affect your personal injury claim, or if you got into a truck crash and incurred injuries, reach out to a skilled truck accident lawyer at Kisling, Nestico & Redick. With decades of experience helping injury victims, we’re ready to fight for you.

To schedule a free, initial consultation of your case, contact us today at 1-800-HURT-NOW.