Last month, the U.S. Department of Transportation released the latest Significant Rulemaking Report, which outlines the Safety Fitness Procedures it plans to implement for commercial vehicles and Semi-Trucks the following year.
At Nunes Law, our Fresno truck accident attorneys know these reports mean the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which regulates the trucking industry in the United States, is seeking to use data and resources more effectively to identify unfit motor carriers and to remove them from the nation’s roadways.
Here is why that is important to our California residents and personal injury law firm.
FMCSA’S SIGNIFICANT RULEMAKING REPORT IS CONSIDERING SUBSTANTIAL CHANGES TO MAKE COMMERCIAL TRUCKS SAFER
The FMCSA outlined several rulemakings they are working on for 2023 to help keep the public safer when traveling alongside commercial vehicles and Semi-Trucks in California and across the nation, including a speed limiter mandate and automatic emergency braking systems.
In May 2022, FMCSA issued an advanced supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking to get feedback. Under the initial proposal, commercial motor vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 26,001 pounds or more and those equipped with an electronic engine control unit capable of being governed would be subject to the mandate.
A speed limit has yet to be determined, but previous proposals outlined the possibilities of 60, 65, or 68 miles per hour.
Even when traveling within the legal limit, the FMCSA calculates the stopping distance of cars vs. semi-trucks as follows:
- A standard passenger vehicle driving at 65 miles per hour will need about 300 feet to stop.
- A fully loaded commercial truck driving at 65 miles per hour will need about 600 feet to stop.
When a large truck is exceeding the speed limit or travels too fast for the conditions, the stoppage time increases and can lead to catastrophic accidents throughout California.
When trucking companies do not comply with the current regulation, or fail to implement the new rules, the Administration is seeking to have these companies removed from operating on the nation’s roadways.
HOW QUICKLY CAN DRIVERS EXPECT TO SEE MANDATED CHANGES IN THE TRUCKING INDUSTRY?
Although the unfit motor carriers notice is expected in the coming months, and the “FMCSA intends to proceed with a motor carrier-based speed limiter rulemaking,” the agency wrote in the report, it may still be a long time before FMCSA could issue a final rule.
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration and FMCSA are also planning to publish a joint rulemaking regarding automatic emergency braking systems in January. The agencies will seek comments on a proposal to require and/or standardize equipment performance for automatic emergency braking systems on heavy trucks.
Like most federal regulations, the research and public comments required to move forward with these changes do not reach automatic results. As decisions are made, and new regulations are put in place to help keep California drivers safer when traveling next to commercial vehicles and Semi-Trucks, this article will be updated.
If you have been injured or have lost a loved one in a crash with a negligent commercial truck driver in California, contact our experienced personal injury attorneys in Fresno at Nunes Law today by calling (559) 702-5124 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal rights and options to hold the liable party accountable for your complete financial recovery.