By: Allan M. Siegel
The New Year is bringing a lot of changes when it comes to Washington.
Aside from a new President and administration, many shake-ups are taking
place in various government agencies, including those responsible for
transportation safety and the regulation of the trucking industry. In
addition to new technologies and new ideas, these changes could make for
an eventful year when it comes to both in-state and interstate trucking.
As a firm that has helped numerous victims and families following
tractor-trailer wrecks, Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. is passionate about staying
up to date with developments and trends that impact safety. We have seen
first-hand how negligence, regulatory violations, and lax oversight can
lead to devastating consequences, and we believe it’s important
for everyone to understand transportation and trucking issues that could
very well impact their own safety anytime they venture onto our public
roads and highways.
Below are a few important issues to watch in 2017 when it comes to the
New Leadership – From President Trump to newly confirmed U.S. Department of Transportation
Secretary Elaine Chao to a new head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration, new leadership will play a major role in shaping the trucking
industry and its regulatory framework.
Regulatory Rollbacks – The trucking and transportation industry have been trending toward
regulatory rollbacks that benefit trucking companies, but not public safety.
For example, the trucking industry has expressed support for increasing
weight and trailer length limits for certain carriers, and recently
suspended of Hours-of-Service rules that mandated specific times for rest breaks following a work week. These
safety rules were created to reduce risks posed by tired truckers. In
addition to possible rollbacks on HOS rules and emissions standards, some
proposed regulations that have gained public support may stagnate and
never pass, including a proposed rule that would require large tractor-trailers
Electronic Logging Devices – As it currently stands, tractor-trailers will be required to have
electronic logging devices (ELDs) that log the movements of trucks and
the hours drivers spend on the road. These ELDs must be installed by December
2017, but dissent from the trucking industry and a requested rehearing
in the U.S. Court of Appeals may impact implementation.
New Technology – Self-driving vehicles are a popular subject of interest that could
revolutionize the trucking industry and transportation in general. Although
it may be some time before they routinely share our roads, self-driving
trucks are constantly being improved and tested. In addition, new technologies
that aim to solve problems in the trucking industry, such as
Amazon’s Uber-like app, could also introduce new concerns to public safety and victims injured
Trucker Shortage – A shortage in truck drivers remains a problem for the trucking
industry, and it has led to proposed rules that could have a negative
impact on safety – including one rule that aimed to
lower the minimum age for interstate drivers from 21 to 18. As the truck driver shortage becomes
an increasingly bigger problem, it could also potentially result in companies
taking shortcuts, overloading cargo, or committing other violations in
order to keep up with demand.
Our team at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. understands
that change is inevitable when it comes to transportation, but we believe
it should never come at the cost of public safety. We will continue to
keep a close eye on developments in the trucking and transportation industry,
and will always make ourselves available to those who have been harmed
by the negligence of drivers, trucking companies, and others who place
profits over people.