Regulation of our roads and highways is a huge job, requiring coordination and dedicated action at the state and federal levels. When traffic safety doesn’t improve, the problem is not a lack of ideas. Instead, it is often a lack of political will to make changes. Thankfully, non-governmental advocacy groups are keeping pressure on politicians and regulators to push for improvements.
Each year for nearly two decades, a group known as Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety releases an annual report on the health of state/federal road safety laws and recommendations for how they could be improved. This year’s report, released in early January, included calls for an additional 400 laws to be implemented around the country (primarily in individual states lacking certain common-sense laws).
The report also strongly recommended that the federal government should increase regulations of the commercial trucking industry. The specific suggestions made seek to address problems that personal injury lawyers have known about for years. The recommendations include:
- Mandatory installation of underride guards on trucks (to prevent accidents in which smaller cars get trapped under truck trailers)
- Better entry-level driver training
- Better screening of all drivers for a condition known as obstructive sleep apnea (which is found in high rates among truck drivers and often leads to severe fatigue behind the wheel)
- Mandatory installation of speed-limiting devices
- Mandatory installation of advanced driver assistance systems that have been proven to reduce traffic fatalities, including automatic emergency braking systems
Some of these ideas have been around for many years, yet they are not implemented because the trucking industry tends to push back vehemently against any attempts at regulation. The reaction to this most recent report has been no different.
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a truck crash caused by a negligent truck driver, you likely know that these proposed reforms cannot be adopted quickly enough. Unless our nation’s regulators get serious about saving lives and placing reasonable limits on truck drivers and trucking companies, it simply will not be safe to continue sharing the road with these giant commercial vehicles.