New bill aims to reduce trucking accidents

Congress is currently considering a bill that would require trucks to have bars along the sides and front of the vehicle. These bars are designed to help reduce the risk of accidents.

Aren't trucks already required to have these bars? In 1998 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began requiring the installation of bars on the back of tractor trailer trucks. These rear guard bars help reduce the risk that a vehicle will slide underneath a trailer in the event of a crash.

What is the importance of these bars? Catastrophic damage occurs when a vehicle slides underneath a trailer. This type of crash can result in removal of the top of the vehicle. This exposes the driver and passengers to risk of serious injury.

How is this proposal different? This proposal expands the current law. At the moment, trucks are only required to have these bars on the rear of the trailer. Although various safety organizations highly recommend the installation of bars along the side and front of trucks, few do so. Leaders in the trucking industry point to the added cost and concern about the impact of the bars on the operation of the vehicle.

If passed, this proposal would require the installation of these bars on the sides and front of these trucks.

Will this proposal become law? A piece by NBC News discusses the proposal, noting members of Congress have voiced concern over a lack of data to support the proposal. However, Senator Gillibrand, one of the authors of the proposal, is optimistic. He states that current legislation is outdated and an update should be easy to move forward.

What about victims of these accidents? A victim of trucking accident may be able to pursue legal remedies through a personal injury lawsuit. Various parties ranging from the truck driver who was operating the vehicle at the time of the crash to the trucking company could be held responsible for the accident. This is true regardless of whether or not the above proposal becomes law. Contact an attorney to discuss your options.

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