Lawmakers vow to mandate automatic brakes for large trucks

| Jun 2, 2021 | Truck AccidentsLegislation |

The number of fatal motor vehicle accidents involving large trucks has risen sharply in Texas and around the country in recent years, which has prompted a coalition of 40 insurance companies, consumer advocacy groups, safety organizations and labor unions to call on lawmakers to mandate safety equipment like automatic emergency braking systems and lane departure warnings for all tractor-trailers in the United States. Legislation passed by Congress in 2020 gave the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 12 months to draft standards for automatic braking systems, and the chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said on May 16 that the requirement for trucks to be equipped with the technology will be included in the Biden administration’s proposed infrastructure bill.

Fatalities up by 36% since 2010

According to figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of road users killed in accidents involving trucks weighing over 10,000 pounds rose by 36% between 2010 and 2019. Accident data also reveals that brake failures are one of the leading causes of deadly tractor-trailer crashes and truck-related personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. Biden’s proposed legislation faces an uncertain fate because Republican leaders have said that they will only support spending to improve roads, bridges, railways and other traditional infrastructure.

Texas leads the nation in deadly truck accidents

Texas residents have reason to follow the infrastructure bill closely because the Lone Star State leads the nation in both truck accidents and truck accident fatalities. In 2018, 13.5% of the large trucks involved in fatal accidents in the United States crashed in Texas. That figure seems even more alarming when compared to the number of deadly truck accidents in other states. California was the state that came closest to Texas on NHTSA’s list, but its 339 fatal tractor-trailer accidents accounted for only 7% of the nationwide total.

Advocating for truck accident victims

If you are injured in an accident involving a commercial vehicle and the facts suggest that negligence may have played a role, an experienced personal injury attorney could file a lawsuit on your behalf seeking damages to compensate you for your medical bills, pain and suffering, property damage and lost income. Attorneys may take legal action against the truck driver involved if the crash was caused by fatigue, reckless driving, impairment or distraction, or they could sue the truck’s owner if substandard repairs, defective parts or inadequate maintenance were to blame.