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Road users in New Jersey and around the country will likely be happy to learn about pending federal regulations that would limit how fast commercial vehicles can be driven and reduce the number of drivers who use drugs or alcohol while behind the wheel. However, they may be dismayed to learn that implementing even regulations that most would agree with is often a tortuously slow process.
Proposed changes to the rules dealing with commercial driver’s licenses were proposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, but the latest in a series of setbacks will now see them implemented no earlier than August. The proposal calls for the creation of a national database of commercial vehicle drivers who have refused to take or failed drug or alcohol tests. The rule change would also require logistics companies to check this database during the hiring process.
A rule requiring the installation of speed limiters on all commercial vehicles weighing 27,000 pounds or more has also been delayed. The proposal was sent by the FMCSA to the White House Office of Management and Budget in May 2015, and it was scheduled to be published on April 28. However, this firm date is nowhere to be found in the March 2016 regulatory update from the Department of Transportation. The projected date is now the more nebulous spring 2016.
While more stringent safety regulations will be welcomed by many, no amount of legislative intervention can hope to completely eliminate accidents caused by negligent or reckless behavior. Experienced personal injury attorneys could assist those injured in truck accidents by filing lawsuits against the drivers or logistics companies involved. Drivers may face litigation when accidents are caused by fatigue, intoxication or distraction, and truck operators could face civil sanctions when federal regulations are flouted or maintenance and safety protocols are inadequate.