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On behalf of Pat Crispi at Keogh Crispi PC

Changes to electronic logging of service hours and speed limiting devices are under consideration.

Truck accidents are on the rise. The most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that there was a 4 percent increase in the number of crashes involving commercial trucks from 2011 to 2012. More specifically, there were 3,921 people killed and 104,000 injured in truck crashes during 2012 alone.

Regulatory bodies are considering changes to the rules issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) which are designed to regulate the commercial trucking industry. If approved, the rules are intended to decrease the risk of trucking accidents.

More on proposed changes

A variety of changes are in the works, but some highlights include:

  • Coercion of Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers; Prohibition. This rule is intended to prohibit "motor carriers, shippers, receivers or transportation intermediaries from coercing drivers" to operate in violation of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). An example of a violation includes encouraging drivers to operate their vehicles over the hours-of-service limits.
  • Electronic Logging Devices and Hours of Service Supporting Documents. Hours-of-service are one part of the federal regulations designed to limit the amount of time a driver can operate a commercial truck before taking a break. Devices are available that allow drivers to electronically enter and monitor their time. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is proposing amendments to the FMCSRs regarding use of these devices. The rule would make use of these devices mandatory.
  • Carrier Safety Fitness Determination. This proposal would result in a review of motor carriers to determine if they are fit to conduct business on the nation's roadways. The review would include a look into the history of the carrier as well as a separate investigation. The goal is to identify and remove unfit carriers from operating, thus reducing the number of serious accidents, injuries and deaths caused by commercial trucks.

In addition to these proposals, the American Trucking Association (ATA) is also urging the Department of Transportation (DOT) to require installation of electronic speed-limiting devices on certain commercial trucks. A recent article in Trucking info, an online news source for the trucking industry, touches on the issue. The article discusses how states are increasingly posting speed limits over 55. ATA limits speed limits of trucks to 65 for safety and economic reasons.

Remedies available for victims

Whether the proposals are passed or not, one thing is clear: trucking accidents can have tragic results. Trucks are significantly larger than passenger vehicles, and accidents often result in serious injuries or even death. Victims may be eligible to receive compensation to help cover the costs associated with the accident. Contact an experienced motor vehicle accidents lawyer to discuss your rights and available remedies.

Keywords: personal injury truck accident

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