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Trucking Laws Archives

Will speed limiters on trucks improve road safety?

In working to improve road safety, federal agencies are considering if equipping trucks with speed limiters could decrease the severity of crashes and resulting injuries and fatalities. Some trucking organizations and private citizens, however, claim there is a lack of evidence the devices mitigate hazardous incidents and suggest they actually might cause more problems.

New Truck Safety Rules Delayed Again

In 2006, the American Trucking Association and Roadsafe America petitioned the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to establish a rule regarding the use of speed-limiters on heavy trucks. In May of last year, the FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration agreed on a joint rule and submitted it to the White House Office of Management and Budget. The OMB delayed the issue by extending the review period for the rule. Last week, the rule was delayed again. The OMB also delayed the release of a regulation that would have created a database to track all truck drivers who failed or refused to take drug or alcohol tests.

Semi Truck Configuration and Weight Restrictions

The design of a tractor trailer is the result of many things. Federal regulations require certain safety equipment. Fuel efficiency and driver comfort play a role in the design of truck cabs. The basic structure, however, is the result of a standardization method known as containerization.

House Votes to Overturn Governor's Veto of Truck Speed Limit

When the Illinois House and Senate voted to raise the speed limit for semi trucks from 55 mph to 60 mph, Governor Quinn vetoed the measure. The law applied to interstate highways in Cook, DuPage, Lake, McHenry and Will counties that were not in urban areas. Governor Quinn claimed the measure would lead to more fatalities in exchange for greater convenience for truck drivers. That veto has now been overturned by both the House and Senate and will be the law in Illinois going forward.

Controversy Over Veto of Truck Speed Limit Law

A measure that passed unanimously in the Illinois House and Senate was vetoed by Governor Quinn this week. The law would have raised the speed limit for trucks traveling on interstates in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties from 55 miles per hour to 60. The law was positioned as a return to the same speed differential that existed prior to the State raising interstate speed limits for cars on these roads to 70 from 65. Governor Quinn defended the veto on the grounds that higher speed limits have been linked to an increase in fatal traffic accidents in numerous studies.

Bill Proposed to Help Truck Accident Victims Gain Proper Compensation

Following a serious truck accident, victims and their families often must turn to the truck company's insurance provider to obtain proper compensation. The minimum insurance policy a truck company can hold under the law is $750,000. This level was set in 1985, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Due to rising medical costs and inflation, $750,000 may be inadequate to cover the victims of a catastrophic crash.

Truck Drivers And State Marijuana Laws

Individual states have taken steps to legalize medical and even recreational use of marijuana in recent years. While the states have the right to make these decisions, commercial drivers, pilots and operators are still bound by federal regulations concerning safe operation of buses, trains, planes and trucks. Truck drivers are still in violation of these rules if they have any marijuana in their systems while operating their vehicles. This is an important consideration for the victims of truck accidents as state laws establishing safe limits for THC in the blood could be used to deny liability. Regardless of the state where the accident occurs, if the driver has THC levels higher than zero, he or she is in violation of Department of Transportation guidelines for commercial drivers.

A Forum on Attentive Driving

The competition for a driver's attention used to be between driving, the radio and other passengers. That competition now includes cell phones, GPS devices, iPods and other personal electronic devices. The increase in serious car and truck accidents caused by distracted driving has caused the National Transportation Safety Board to hold a forum designed to cover the issue. "Attentive Driving: Countermeasures for Distraction" is scheduled for March 27 and will cover a wide range of issues connected to driver inattention.

New Cell Phone Ban for Commercial Truck Drivers

The Department of Transportation, in conjunction with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, has decided to ban the use of hand-held cell-phones for commercial vehicle drivers. The ban is the latest effort to reduce serious truck accidents caused by distracted driving. In 2010, the DOT passed a rule banning text messaging by bus and truck drivers. This measure is more controversial, as the benefits of hands-free devices are not clear.

NTSB Forum focuses on improving trucking and bus safety

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) convened a public forum from May 10-11 in Washington, DC to review progress made over the last decade in improving truck and bus safety and to discuss steps that must be taken to improve safety in the future.

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