Safer Highways Will Soon Be Yours…But the USDOT Needs You to Wait Patiently

Most of us have had our fair share of dealing with government agencies, and many of us have experienced that overwhelming sense of “hurry up and wait.” While the government has extraordinary power and reach, the channels that power must go through can be time-consuming.

Though the government, namely the Department of Transportation, is undoubtedly the best agency for creating safety standards in the trucking industry, these standards often come at a price—time. Changing rules and regulations in an industry with international reach can take some time, and while important strides have been made in recognizing shortfalls in the trucking industry today, the debut of these improvements has already been delayed.

Good News and Bad News

The bad news is that the dates we were expecting to see these important safety measures implemented have been pushed back, but the good news is that these safety measures will not only ensure that you and your family are safer on the road, but will also protect your rights should you find yourself the victim of a truck accident. Three important proposals are:

  • The electronic logbook mandate, which was initially proposed about a year ago, has been one of the most important changes in the industry. While there are carriers and individual drivers who already use electronic logging devices, many still rely on paper logs and the honor system. This means that important driving limits, rest requirements, speeds, and performance limitation can be pushed beyond the threshold of safety without any hard evidence—but electronic logging changes that. Initially proposed for implementation on September 30th of this year, the date has been pushed to November 9.
  • Speed governors have also been a hot topic in the trucking world, a conversation started primarily by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Some companies already use these devices which set a top speed for trucks. While no official limit has been set, industry buzz places it around 68 mph—the rule’s implementation has been pushed back about one month to June 8.
  • Another important rule that remains on schedule is the prohibition of driver coercion by shipping companies and carriers. This means that companies that put unnecessary pressure on their drivers to violate important safety regulations (like rest periods, loads, and speeds) in the name of on-time performance can face serious penalties. Expect to see more about this rule in September of this year.

While no one wants to see important safety standards delayed, the addition of these rules is a massive step forward for drivers everywhere. Protecting your safety should be the primary responsibility of the DOT, FMCSA, and NHTSA, and these agencies are finally stepping up and putting some heavy-hitting changes into effect.

If you have been injured in a truck accident, the driver who hurt you may have been violating the safety regulations that are already in place. To learn more about the nature of your accident and your right to compensation, contact our office today.