Congress Could Hide Truck Safety Records

A bill that is pending in Congress could block the American public from viewing trucking firms’ safety ratings online. This is a change that the trucking lobby has long wanted because they maintain the system is unfair.

That online database was one part of Georgia’s decision in 2011 to take away the ability of 20 city and county police departments to inspect tractor trailers for federal safety compliance. Poor scores could affect the insurance rates for the company, or could dissuade a shipper from using them to move their products.

Trucking companies have complained that local government departments were just piling violations on top of violations.

However, if the online scoring system is taken away, truck safety advocates will no longer be able to check trucking firms’ safety records easily. Also about 25% of the truck inspectors in some states will be taken from the roads, and their numbers of inspections will decrease in that time.

Trucking companies argue that the scores unfairly put them in a bad light, such as in crashes that were not their fault. But the American Association for Justice states that the pending bill is a ‘giveaway to the most dangerous trucking companies.’

We find it alarming that Congress could move to make it more difficult for the public to check a trucking company’s safety record online. When a careless truck driver hits a passenger car, the resulting injuries can be devastating for the innocent party. Remember, a big rig can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds while a typical passenger car weighs only 3,500 pounds. Our trucking accident attorneys have worked with many terribly injured clients that need life long medical care.

Given that the potential injuries in a truck crash are so much greater for the passenger vehicle driver and passengers, we think that the public should be able to check trucking companies’ safety records easily.