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Congress Considering Two Bills to Protect Truck Accident Victims

Truck accidents continue to be a problem on US roadways, and data compiled by the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles proves this point. In 2017, there were more than 10,500 crashes involving commercial vehicles in 2017, 2,342 of which caused injuries to at least one victim. US Congress recently took action to reduce the frequency of these collisions and protect victims by introducing through two pieces of legislation, though both are still at the committee phase.

While no laws can entirely eliminate the potential for fatal or injury-causing truck accidents in North Carolina, the legislative measures show promise. A summary may be useful in helping you understand the advantages if you’re hurt or lose a loved one in a crash.

The INSURANCE Act: This law’s name is a very long acronym for a pretty basic concept, which is increasing the amount of insurance coverages truckers must carry. Under the current laws, the minimum amount of insurance mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is $750,000. This standard was put into place more than three decades ago, so proponents of the bill argue that the amount needs to be updated. Inflation has increased by approximately 6.5 times the rate from the mid- the 1980s, as have medical costs and other factors. 

As such, the $750,000 minimum may be insufficient to cover the massive medical costs that truck accident victims incur for such injuries as:

      Traumatic brain injury, concussion, and other head injuries;

      Spinal cord trauma and neck injuries;

      Paralysis and permanent disability;

      Burn injuries, especially when the truck’s cargo is hazardous chemicals;

      Limb amputation; and,

      Many other catastrophic injuries.

Based upon the 6.5 multiplier, the INSURANCE Act could result in the new minimum insurance coverage to reach $4.8 million. For this reason, many in the trucking and shipping industry oppose it.

The Safe Roads Act: This bill would require all trucks to be equipped with automatic emergency braking systems, according to standards to be established by the Secretary of Transportation. The objective is to reduce the number of accidents and minimize the impact when truck trashes do occur. You should note two key factors regarding the Safe Roads Act:

  1. Though proponents argue that an automatic emergency braking system could reduce the frequency and severity of truck collisions, they cannot completely prevent them.
  2. A similar bill was previously introduced, but failed to gather enough support to pass. Opponents say that implementing automatic emergency braking system is cost-prohibitive, and they get significant support from the trucking industry. However, sponsors believe they’ll get the votes with the most recent version of the bill.

Discuss Your Claim with a North Carolina Truck Accident Attorney

If you were injured or a loved one died as a result of a truck collision, our team at Howard, Stallings, From, Atkins, Angell & Davis, P.A. can explain your rights and remedies. You may be entitled to compensation for your losses, and we’re happy to assist with your claim. Please contact us today to schedule a case evaluation at our offices in Raleigh, New Bern, or Morehead City, NC.



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