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Senate Bill Focuses on Truck and Trucker Safety

Various federal agencies have worked to make our nation’s roads and vehicles safe. However, federal acts are like canned goods: they can expire. As a result, on July 28, 2011, U.S. Senators Rockefeller and Pryor introduced the Motor Vehicle and Highway Safety Improvement Act of 2011 (MVHSI). This proposed legislation, Senate Bill 1449, would not only reauthorize several federal highway safety programs, but would also create sweeping changes.

Under the MVHSI, the Secretary of the Department of Transportation (DOT) would be given more authority to conduct vehicle safety research, develop and test programs, and collect and analyze vehicle safety data. The power granted by the bill would also require the DOT to explore emerging lightweight plastic and composite technologies that increase fuel efficiency, lower harmful emissions and enhance vehicle safety.

The MVHSI impact goes beyond the DOT. The bill calls for revised teen licensing standards and child safety standards. One of the more controversial mandates for passenger vehicle drivers is the requirement that new cars-beginning in model year 2015-be equipped with Vehicle Event Data Recorders that can record safety event information before, during and after a motor vehicle accident, such as air bag deployment.

For commercial carriers, Senate Bill 1449 would impact vehicle operation, safety reporting and driver fitness standards. One fundamental requirement of this law is the equipment of all commercial carrier vehicles with electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs). With these recorders, the federal government, as well as trucking companies, can receive accurate records of on-duty and hours of service regulation compliance. In the past, fraudulent or inaccurate records have masked problems of fatigued or sleep-impaired drivers.

The National Transportation Safety Board estimates that up to 40 percent of all truck accidents are attributable to driver fatigue. According to a survey by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, truckers with hours of service violations were more likely to have fallen asleep behind the wheel, and a significant number omit mandated entries. The MVHSI would alleviate this problem.

In addition to the EOBR requirements, the MVHSI would mandate speed limiters for commercial trucks and other large carriers. Along with the speed restrictions, carriers would be expected to comply with new CDL notification systems, Compliance Safety Accountability protocols and driver fitness standards.

In 2010 alone, 32,788 Americans lost their lives on our nation’s roads; however, the MHVSI could be a critical step in reducing human losses on our highways.

Philadelphia Truck Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Help Injured Truck Accident Victims

If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident, the experienced Philadelphia truck accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC can help.  To discuss your legal options during a free consultation, call our offices at 215-569-8488 or contact us online. We represent clients in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.