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Proposed rule seeks automatic braking systems in trucks

On Behalf of | May 3, 2024 | Personal Injury

It only takes a split second of errant driving for a semi-truck to cause extensive devastation. Those who are unfortunate enough to be involved in one of these accidents can suffer irreparable harm, too. Some of them are left permanently disabled, financially ruined and psychologically damaged.

And the extent of the problem is staggering. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s report on the matter, approximately 60,000 rear-end collisions occurred between 2017 and 2019 where the heavy vehicle, like a semi-truck, was the striking vehicle. The report also indicated that these wrecks resulted in nearly 340 fatalities and 30,000 injuries each year.

But is there anything that can stop these truck accidents from occurring? This is a question that has spurred ongoing conversations among local, state, and federal governments, as well as public safety agencies and advocacy groups. While change is slow, there is one proposed federal rule that, if implemented, could have a very real impact on trucking safety.

The proposed rule on automatic braking systems

Last summer, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in conjunction with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, proposed implementing a new rule that would require heavy vehicles, including semi-trucks, to install automatic emergency braking systems.

These systems would rely on sensors that detect when a crash is imminent, and once they do emergency brakes are engaged even if the driver fails to do so on their own. Therefore, if a trucker is distracted, fatigued, or simply slow to act, protective action will be taken in hopes of keeping other motorists safe.

But the proposed rule is more detailed in nature. It includes the following conditions:

  • A forward-looking collision warning for truckers when the heavy vehicle travels at approximately 6 miles per hour or faster.
  • Implementation of a testing system to ensure that emergency braking systems don’t falsely trigger.
  • Braking systems to detect defects that would compromise the automatic braking system so that proper repairs can be made safety and measures can be implemented.

There are a lot of nuances to these proposed regulations, of course, and the details of testing standards are still up in the air. There are some concerns about how the costs associated with testing may impact small businesses, too, which may affect the rollout of some, if not all, of these proposals.

Personal injury lawsuit as a deterrent

The future of the proposed rule is uncertain. However, it’s not the only way to deter negligent trucking. Pursuing a personal injury lawsuit can also have a deterring factor, as it holds negligent truckers and their employers accountable for the harm that they cause. Hitting them where it hurts, in their bank accounts, can lead to changed practices related to trucking safety. So, if you or a loved one has been harmed by negligent trucking, then you should ready yourself to take action as a way to protect others from befalling a similar fate.

Fight to recover the compensation you deserve

A personal injury lawsuit isn’t just about deterring negligent actions, though. It’s also about recovering the compensation you need to offset your losses and obtaining financial stability while you focus on your recovery. To secure a favorable outcome, though, you’ll need strong evidence that demonstrates negligence and causation.

You’re bound to face some challenges in your truck accident case, but don’t let that scare you. You can proactively gather evidence and craft the legal arguments necessary to protect your position. Just be sure to fully inform yourself on the process so that you can engage in the thorough preparation that you need.