Transportation Safety Rules for Trucks Being Delayed Under Trump

President Trump has been slowing attempts to address serious safety problems involving tractor trailers and trains in his quest to roll back regulations in the federal government.

USA Today reported recently there are a dozen transportation safety rules that are being repealed, withdrawn, delayed or put on the back burner since Trump entered office. There also have been no major new safety rules approved since he took the oath of office.

The delayed rules would have, among other things, required states to do annual inspections of commercial bus companies, railroads to run train engines with at least two engineers, and to equip future light trucks with vehicle to vehicle communications to prevent accidents.

In most cases, the safety rules are opposed by powerful lobbying groups. Political appointees who run the agencies that write the rules often were once employed by the industries they are regulating.

Trump has tried to cut regulations throughout the US government as he thinks many are restraining economic growth. He wrote an executive order stating that two regulations be identified for removal for every new one issued.

The Department of Transportation has said it can reduce regulations without major safety problems. DOT added that it is common for a new administration to take a new look at regulations, especially those that are most expensive. DOT’s deputy general counsel James Owens said that the agency will not finalize a rule only because it has gone through the preliminary steps. If the rule harms safety and/or imposes high economic costs, the rule will not advance.

One rule that was proposed in 2016 that affects trucks would mandate all new rigs have an electronic speed limiter that sets the top speed from 60 to 68 MPH. The White House put that rule on the sidelines after he took office. It is estimated the speed limiter rule would save 500 lives per year and could save society up to $5 billion per year depending upon the final top speed.

The American Trucking Associations once backed the rule but has taken credit for stopping it. It maintains the rule would create large speed gaps between trucks and cars that is too dangerous.

Our View

As truck accident attorneys in Virginia, we know that poor attention to safety can lead to many injuries and deaths. Our wrongful death attorneys settled a truck crash case for $3.5 million where the driver was rear ended by a tractor trailer on a highway and our client lost his life. The trucker had violated several safety rules from the CDL manual that contributed to the wreck. Our lawyers want to see the rules that could improve trucking safety in the US implemented as soon as possible. Saving lives is of the utmost importance.