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Federal trucking safety rules shelved for now

Through this blog, we have written a number of posts on how rules have been (and continue to be) developed on trucking safety. After all, semi-trucks are the largest and most dangerous vehicles on the road, so it is imperative that they be carefully regulated.

Indeed, trucking safety regulations become popular after an accident; especially if the crash involves dangerous and emotionally charged vices, such as drowsy driving, texting while driving or driving while under the influence of alcohol. With that federal regulators have initiated a number of rules to curb these practices and save lives. 

However, not all rules become enforceable, despite the intentions behind them. Such is the case with two rules that were recently delayed again. One proposed rule would require governors on heavy trucks weighing more than 27,000 pounds. This would be especially important in areas where the speed limit is 75 miles per hour or more.  The rule was supposed to be published on April 28 after it clears the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) but it has been removed from the DOT’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking schedule.

The same occurred with a final rule that would have created a national database of truck drivers who have failed or refused a drug or alcohol test, and would require commercial carriers to update it at least annually. This rule was supposed to be published in August after being submitted to the OMB in May.

It remains to be seen what happens to these rules, but they don’t change a trucker’s legal obligation to use reasonable care while behind the wheel, or the ability of an injured party to recover if a trucker fails to use such care. 

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