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Federal trucking regulations might be rolled back under new law

Trucks are a staple on the Florida roads bringing goods back and forth as well as providing jobs nationwide. The majority of truckers adhere to the rules of the road, as well as federal trucking regulations and do whatever they can to reduce the danger of a truck accident. While these drivers are making attempts to be safe, that is not completely true of all drivers. The idea behind the numerous regulations in place is that there will be consequences to companies and drivers for failing to abide by them. A new bill in the U.S. Senate might serve to deregulate the industry and lead to danger.

Democrats -- including Florida Senator Bill Nelson -- tried to stop the rules changes from getting out of committee, but failed. The idea for many senators is to reduce the amount of federal trucking regulations that the industry must follow. The transportation bill runs 1,000 pages and has provisions for the truck industry that reduce the minimum age for drivers going on interstate routes to 18-years-old from 21. The public would also no longer be able to see the safety rankings for truck companies.

A Florida company has had three accidents that resulted in fatalities since 2014. Federal regulators were not aware of them due to mistakes made in how the reports were filed. Mistakes are not uncommon with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The U.S. Department of Transportation is auditing the practices of the FCMSA. A concern from one senator centers around the possibility that if the federal government is not keeping a watch on a truck driver's trucking log, then no one will and the rules will be flouted. Statistics show that 33,000 people die on the road in the U.S. annually. Of those, 4,000 are in truck crashes.

There could be many reasons for a truck accident. These include a mechanical issue with the vehicle, a driver who is reckless or under the influence, a failure to get the required amount of rest to follow the rules or pure inexperience. Those who have suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one because of a crash with a truck need to understand their legal rights.

Source: myfoxtampabay.com, "Transportation bill could mean trouble for highway safety," Tina Jensen, July 24, 2015

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