There were close to 4,000 fatal truck accidents in 2016, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. This number has been on the rise since 2009, and is expected to continue rising unless safety rules and other preventive measure are put in place.
Most truck crash fatalities result in the death of a passenger car driver, a motorcyclist, a bicyclist or a pedestrian. Many times, these fatalities are due to a car or a smaller vehicle underriding the truck from the side. While rear guards are mandated on trailers, this law hasn’t been update since 1998.
It was in April 2014 that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a recommendation to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that all new trailers have side protection systems. Nothing has changed since then until now.
Last December, Congress members introduced The Stop Underrides Act of 2017, a bipartisan bill requiring all large trucks, trailers, and semi-trailers to have side guard protectors. The bill would further update rear guard protection requirements to also apply to all large trucks, trailers, and semi-trailers. The bill was introduced by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL). Along with the Senate, an identical bill was also introduced in the House, by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA). Since then the bill has been sitting in committees who have so far refused to take any further action on this safety issue.
The American Trucking Association (ATA), the lobbying arm of the trucking industry is expected to obstruct this bill as it would require the trucking industry to spend money on updating safety equipment. The ATA’s agenda is to have as few safety rules and regulations in place as possible to grow the trucking industry’s profits. They seem least concerned about fatalities they can help prevent. As a result, it’s our community members and their loved ones who must suffer from the consequences from tragic accidents again and again.
The ATA will look for reasons to block this bill. Their efforts include large donations to members of Congress who will support their agenda. Average families and our community members who lose the most from these tragedies often don’t have the funds to promote their own safety. Therefore, it is important that we raise our voices and remain engaged in these issues. Not only should we vote, but we should know our politicians’ position on safety rules. What does their voting record say about safety rules? Would this candidate help ensure my loved one can be safer? Awareness and engagement is what offers solutions and improves our communities.
Raise your voice if you or a loved one has been hurt in a truck accident. The Dinizulu Law Group, Ltd. is here to help injured victims and their families at their time of need. Our truck accident lawyers have helped thousands of families arrive at a place of financial security and stability after a devastating injury. We can be reached at 1 (312) 384-1920 or 1 (800) 693-1LAW, or by email.