Congressional Bill Could Improve Trucking Safety
Trucking regulations remain in flux. The Trump Administration has loosened some rules as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and has proposed other changes that will take effect this fall. Now, the House of Representatives has passed a bill that would strengthen industry regulation to the benefit of the public.
According to an article in Yahoo Finance, the House is trying to increase the amount of insurance truck drivers carry. They are also trying to delay implementation of new Hours of Service regulations.
Larger Insurance Policies
Perhaps the most significant feature of the bill is a requirement that carriers have a $2 million insurance policy. Currently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) only requires that carriers have a $750,000 insurance policy for each truck.
The bump up in insurance would be welcome. Truck accidents are typically much more serious than ordinary car accidents. Due to the truck’s size and weight, they can seriously harm motorists when they collide, often leaving people permanently disfigured or disabled.
Having $2 million available for an insurance claim increases the odds that a victim will be fully compensated for their injuries whenever a truck driver or the trucking company is to blame for the accident. We hope that this legislation is signed into law.
However, the industry is opposed to the increase, blaming runaway jury verdicts for increasing insurance premiums. Increasing the amount of coverage will also add to the cost of doing business, though it will increase the likelihood of a settlement.
Delay in Hours of Service Changes
Last month, the FMCSA published updates to the hours of service regulations which limit the amount of time that a trucker can drive and work. The updates have made several changes, including allowing drivers to split their mandatory 10 hours of rest. For example, they might split it up 8-2 instead of taking it all at once. Splitting the mandatory rest gives truck drivers flexibility, especially when traffic conditions prevent them from reaching their destination in a timely manner.
The House of Representatives wants to delay this update until there has been a comprehensive review of the new rules’ impact on public safety. Here, too, the trucking industry supports the changes, believing that they will help truckers get adequate rest.
The updates are scheduled to go into effect in September 2020. The House bill will need to be passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Trump to bring about a delay in implementation. Unfortunately, we don’t think that this is likely to happen, since the Trump administrative agency made the changes in the first place.
Contact Us Today
Earnhart Law has helped many accident victims hold truckers and trucking companies accountable when they are injured. We closely follow changes in federal law and understand how these changes will impact public safety.
If you were injured in a truck accident, please contact our Delray Beach truck accident attorneys today. We offer a free consultation, which you can schedule if you call 561-265-2220 or send us an online message.