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Advocacy groups urge Congress to mandate truck safety systems


Advocacy groups urge Congress to mandate truck safety systems

Road safety advocacy groups in South Carolina and around the country have criticized the Department of Transportation’s efforts to introduce rules designed to reduce truck accidents and save lives. They want trucking companies to switch on the speed limiters fitted to their vehicles and install emergency braking systems. The rules were proposed 12 years ago but have been mired in Congress ever since.

A push to goad lawmakers into taking action was recently launched by a coalition of safety groups led by the Truck Safety Coalition and Road Safe America. An RSA representative said that a proposed infrastructure bill could provide Congress with a way to finally implement the long-awaited safety regulations. The safety groups have called on President Trump to intervene if Congress once again fails to act.

The arguments made by these groups appear to be supported by convincing data. A study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that a semi-tractor trailer is 200 percent more likely to be involved in a speed-related truck accident when its speed limiter is switched off. Research also suggests that mandating automatic emergency braking systems in commercial vehicles could prevent as many as 2,500 collisions each year. The American Trucking Associations says that it supports lower speed limits as long as they apply to cars as well as trucks.

Truck accidents can lead to serious injuries, major property damage and even deaths. While a lack of truck safety technology is not enough to prove negligence, it could be used by experienced personal injury attorneys to establish a pattern of reckless behavior that put other road users at risk. Other factors that attorneys could cite when making this argument include a history of safety or hours of service violations, inadequate repairs or maintenance and the accident history of the truck driver involved.