The federal government is always looking for ways to make commercial trucks safer on the roads, and that’s something that benefits all motorists.
The U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, which provides funding for federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), has provided that agency with a list of recommendations for trucking safety issues it wants to see addressed during the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY2022). Some are issues that Congress has been concerned about for some time.
The committee can’t require the DOT to comply with these recommendations. However, since lawmakers on appropriations committees have a say over an agency’s budget, their recommendations or generally taken seriously.
Large truck crash study
The committee “remains alarmed” by the number of injuries and fatalities related to crashes involving large trucks. It noted that fatalities have increased by 36% in approximately the past decade.
The committee approved $30 million last year for a study of truck crashes. It has asked for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is under the DOT, to provide a briefing to members of the House and Senate within 90 days of the FY2022 budget bill.
Truck underride guards
The committee noted the continuing problem of crashes where smaller vehicles go under large trucks –- known as underride crashes. These result in over 360 fatalities every year. The committee has directed the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is also under the DOT, to collaborate with engineers, safety advocates and those in the trucking industry “to facilitate the deployment and adoption of rear and side underride protection devices.
Other safety issues
Among the other trucking safety issues the appropriations committee wants to be addressed by the DOT and its departments to address are:
- Publishing its analysis of how the loosening of Hours of Service (HOS) standards last year affected safety
- Streamlining information technology management systems
- Finalizing an automatic emergency braking (AEB) rule
- Developing autonomous vehicle (AV) technology
- Creating more advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) performance standards
Changes in safety regulations have no doubt improved the safety of commercial trucks over the years. However, these changes typically come about slowly. There are still potentially dangerous trucks – and drivers – out there. If you’ve been injured or a loved one killed in a crash caused by a negligent truck driver or an unsafe truck, it’s crucial that you don’t settle for less than the compensation you deserve.