In February, President Donald Trump’s Administration announced an executive order that would require all federal agencies to reevaluate their regulations for potential revisions or elimination. Here are some of the DOT rules that agencies may change due to this expected reduction of regulation.
There are two regulations that could be removed under this executive order: Safety fitness and speed limiters.
The safety fitness rule was to be responsible for determining if carriers were unsuitable for an operation of commercial trucks based on investigations regarding compliance and safety data gathered on the road. Those rules are currently in stasis and Congress has requested a National Academy of Sciences study on the effectiveness of the current scoring system.
The proposed speed limiter rule to issue speed limiting devices for use in Class 7 and 8 trucks is likely not going to go through under Trump. The rule has a lot of opposition among trucking industry groups that believe speed limiters might result in more accidents and traffic congestion.
The hours of service rule and the driver training rule will probably remain in place under the Trump Administration.
In 2016, Congress eliminated the 34-hour restart hours of service rule, which was deemed unnecessary and is unlikely to reappear anytime soon. The driver training rule issued in June of 2017, which required 30 hours of training for new drivers, has not yet been addressed by the Trump Administration.
There are two rules that are likely to come to fruition in the near future: the ELD mandate and the driver drug testing rule.
The controversial ELD mandate would make it necessary for trucks to use electronic logging devices by December 18, 2017. This rule has received a lot of opposition from trucking groups but is still expected to move forward.
The driver drug testing rule requiring hair samples in drug testing for truckers was approved by Congress in 2015 and is still in place, as it’s expected to be a better testing method than urine testing.
While these are some predicted changes in trucking under Trump, his administration may make unexpected changes throughout his presidency. Regulations currently in place are designed to reduce risky driving that results in trucking accidents. Victims of trucking accidents can always consult with a truck accident lawyer to determine if they have a case.
Cities are allowed to restrict trucks from driving on certain streets or roads in Illinois, and when truck drivers violate these laws and cause accidents, they may be liable to pay damages to compensate the injured victims. Cities and other local governments are able to forbid trucks from driving on certain streets by restricting them based on their weight. These rules are meant to prevent large trucks from using residential areas to cut through to larger roads. When a truck driver cuts through a residential area, residents are placed at risk of being injured and damage may be caused to the streets. A truck accident lawyer may represent victims who have been injured by trucks when the trucks were in prohibited areas.
In Illinois, when a driver commits a traffic violation and injures someone as a result, the injured victim may enter evidence of the driver’s violation of the law into evidence for the court’s consideration. A traffic ticket is viewed as prima facie evidence of negligence in the state. This does not mean that the ticket alone will be enough for a finding that the driver was negligent and thus liable, however. The plaintiff will also need to be able to show that the driver’s traffic violation was the proximate cause of the resulting accident and injury. In the case of a truck driver cutting through a residential area and causing an accident, the injured victim’s truck accident lawyer may get copies of the citation that the driver received so that the attorney may enter it into evidence on behalf of the plaintiff.
After the plaintiff offers evidence that the truck driver violated the ordinance, the truck driver then has the burden of proof to show that the driver acted reasonably under the specific circumstances in spite of the violation. If the driver is unable to prove that his or her actions were reasonable, then the driver will be considered to have been negligent. The plaintiff will still need to prove that the driver’s negligence then caused the accident, the plaintiff was injured and that the plaintiff suffered harm as a result.
Cities are allowed to keep trucks out of certain neighborhoods and off of certain streets because of the risks they pose to others. When drivers violate these laws, they risk causing serious accidents and injuring others. A truck accident lawyer represents victims to help them recover damages.
For much of the past decade, it appeared that deaths and injuries from large truck crashes would continue to drop, making roads much safer for truck drivers and everyone else on the road. Unfortunately, that trend has seen a reversal in recent years, with fatality levels continuing to rise. This corresponds to a rise in overall fatalities in Illinois at the same time, putting drivers at higher risk for injury or death in a truck accident.
When two or more vehicles are involved a truck accident, the smaller vehicle and its occupants almost always suffer the majority of the injuries. This makes sense, as a regular passenger vehicle could weigh 20-30 times less than a tractor-trailer or bus. In two vehicle large truck accidents, 97% of all fatalities occur in the smaller vehicle. Those who are victims in crashes like this often need the aid of a truck accidents attorney.
Roads Much Safer Than in the Past
The worst time for truck safety in the U.S. was in the late 1970s, with fatality rates for truck drivers around five times what they are currently. Avoiding a return to those years of extremely high fatality rates is a safety priority. 2009 was a banner year for anyone hoping to reduce fatalities and avoid trucking accidents. In that year, the total number of fatalities from trucking accidents was less than 3,150.
Unfortunately, the number of fatalities has continued to rise since then. From 2010 to the present, no year has had fewer truck accident fatalities than 2009. While numbers dropped slightly between 2010 and 2011, the overall trend is for higher numbers of fatalities involving large trucks.
At the same time, Illinois drivers face a steady increase in the number of overall traffic accidents and fatalities. While there are many possible causes of this, from more vehicles on the road to lower gas prices, it is clear that Illinois drivers face more dangers on the road. 2015 was the first time in five years that had more than 1,000 fatalities in Illinois, and 2016’s numbers indicate a continuation of the trend.
The combination of these trends means that Illinois drivers need to be even more cautious, prepared and defensive when driving near large trucks. Their lives depend on it.
New Trucking Laws Require Safer Electronic Logging
Beginning in January 2016, a clock started ticking for commercial drivers who still keep paper logs. That clock gives commercial drivers in Illinois two years to switch over to ELDs, or electronic logging devices. The idea behind the move to ELDs is to improve safety on Illinois roadways by reducing driver fatigue, and ensuring that commercial drivers aren’t skirting hours-of-service rules by using electronic logging technology.
Too Many Commercial Vehicle Accidents on Chicago Roads
Since 2013, seven people have died in three separate traffic accidents involving commercial truck drivers who were later found to have falsified their log books and exceeded the allowable maximum hours behind the wheel. This type of blatant disregard for safety regulations is, unfortunately, common in some areas of the commercial trucking industry. By implementing new regulations that require the use of ELDs, officials expect to see a significant reduction in accidents caused by fatigued commercial drivers. ELDs are capable of tracking service hours on a minute-by-minute basis; their use is expected to save more than two dozen lives and prevent more than 500 crash-related injuries per year.
Recovering from a Commercial Vehicle Accident
Millions of injuries happen every year in car accidents, and many of those accidents involve commercial vehicles, often driven by overworked, fatigued drivers. Negligence and intentional misconduct are also common themes in commercial vehicle accidents, and may result in the death or dismemberment of everyone in a vehicle. Without proper representation, it can be difficult to recover damages in accidents involving commercial vehicles. Most trucking companies and other employers of commercial drivers have lawyers to help shield them in case of an accident. Injured parties can benefit greatly from the advice of a Chicago injury lawyer, especially in cases where serious injury or death has occurred.
Determining Negligence in Chicago Commercial Vehicle Accidents
Negligence is one of the primary causes of auto accidents, and its impact is magnified when the accident involves a commercial vehicle. When commercial drivers fail to exercise reasonable care, the results can be catastrophic; mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially. Trying to hold the responsible parties liable can be a frustrating, time-consuming, and ultimately fruitless venture without an understanding of how to prove negligence in a court of law. With the help of a Chicago injury lawyer, parties injured by a commercial driver may be able to recover damages for lost wages, medical bills, legal fees, and more.