A study from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration suggests that truck drivers in Virginia and around the country are about twice as likely to be involved in a speed-related accident when systems designed to limit top speeds are switched off. Speed limiters are installed in virtually all tractor-trailers sold in America and have been for many years, but regulations that would require trucking companies to switch them on have been mired in a congressional morass for more than a decade.
Congress has also failed to push forward a proposed Department of Transportation regulation that would require tractor-trailers to be fitted with automatic emergency braking systems. Research indicates that this regulation could prevent more than 2,500 truck accidents each year. Trade groups claim, however, that mandating these systems would place an unfair financial burden on trucking companies.
The legislative impasse has frustrated road safety advocacy groups, and they have now thrown their weight behind an organized effort headed by the nonprofit organizations Road Safety America and the Truck Safety Coalition. While bipartisan cooperation remains rare in Congress, the safety coalition believes that an upcoming infrastructure bill could be used as a vehicle to finally get the proposed regulations implemented. If lawmakers once again decline to take action, the RSA hopes that President Trump will get involved to push the regulations through.
Experienced personal injury attorneys may gather evidence that could be used in motor vehicle accident lawsuits by having tractor-trailers that have crashed inspected. Attorneys may point to signs of neglect or substandard repairs when arguing that truck operators acted negligently, and evidence revealing that potentially life-saving safety systems had been switched off could make these arguments more convincing. Other factors that could be used to establish a pattern of reckless actions include hours of service logs, cellphone usage details and records of FMCSA safety violations.