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Safety advocates urge more truck regulations

For many drivers in Connecticut, the threat of a truck accident can be particularly chilling. Drivers and passengers of smaller vehicles face significantly higher risks in a crash involving a semi-truck or 18-wheeler; they are far more likely to face severe injuries or even fatalities. Therefore, safety advocates are urging Congress to pass new legislation that could toughen safety regulations for large trucks on American highways. Road Safe America and the Truck Safety Coalition are seeking a mandate for all heavy trucks to use speed limiters and automatic emergency braking.

According to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, trucks that did not use speed limiters were 200 percent more likely to have a crash at highway speeds than those who did use the limiting devices. However, advocates say that the Department of Transportation has failed to take action on proposed regulations for over a decade, under both Republican and Democratic administrations. They said that rulemaking proposals that would address these issues have been stalled throughout that time. In addition, they argued that automatic emergency braking systems could stop over 2,500 truck accidents every year.

Various trucking industry associations have traditionally opposed expanded regulation for large trucks. One organization said that it would support the use of speed limiting devices for trucks at 65 mph but only if similar regulations were also applied to cars. They argued that the roads are safer when everyone drives at the same speed, despite the far greater risk posed by truck collisions.

Trucking crashes can lead to severe injuries and permanent disabilities, especially when negligent or inattentive truck drivers are behind the wheel. People who have been injured in a truck accident caused by someone else's dangerous driving may want to consult with a personal injury lawyer about the potential to seek compensation for their damages.

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