NHTSA may require additional safety equipment in commercial trucks

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) along with the Department of Transportation (DOT) has proposed a new federal safety standard designed to prevent over half of rollover accidents that occur in large commercial vehicles. If passed, the proposal would require these large trucks to install and use electronic stability control systems.

Electronic stability control systems, or ESCs, use sensors to monitor the trucks' movement and steering. The systems were first used in the early nineties in luxury vehicles like Mercedes-Benz and BMWs. ESCs are now widely available in passenger vehicles, and the NHTSA argues that use of these systems in commercial trucks could prevent over 50 percent of rollover accidents.

ESCs would help reduce the risk of truck accidents by using computer assisted breaking. The systems work by triggering anti-lock breaking systems in specific wheels to help a driver maintain control of a truck if the wheels loose traction on the road.

The benefits of this system have been supported by numerous studies conducted by both government and private organizations. In fact, the government now requires all passenger vehicles made in 2012 to include ESC systems.

How new rule could impact drivers

If the proposal is passed, the NHTSA estimates that over 2,000 crashes and up to 60 fatalities could be avoided.

The reduction in commercial truck accidents is important, since these accidents are often much more dangerous than accidents involving only passenger vehicles. A typical commercial truck can weigh over 80,000 pounds while a passenger car tends to weigh closer to 3,000. Simple physics prove that an accident between vehicles with such a large weight disparity will likely be catastrophic for those within the passenger vehicle.

Remedies available for those injured in truck accidents

Those injured in these accidents may be able to receive compensation to cover medical and rehabilitative expenses as well as pain and suffering if the accident was caused by negligence. Negligence is established when the driver or company failed to exercise reasonable care.

Liability can extend to include a wide range of actions such as:

  • Violating traffic laws like speeding
  • Not properly maintaining the commercial truck and allowing the breaks or safety lights to no longer function correctly
  • Operating the vehicle in a manner that is not appropriate for the weather conditions

Establishing this claim can be difficult. As a result, if you or a loved one is injured in a truck accident it is important to contact an experienced truck accident attorney to discuss your situation and better ensure your legal rights and remedies are protected.