When motorists share the road with 18-wheelers, box trucks, and other commercial vehicles as they do in Maryland, it is no wonder that truck accidents are a common tragedy. Because of the difference in size and weight, you will not be surprised to learn that the occupants of the smaller vehicle typically sustain the most life-threatening and serious injuries in these crashes. To reduce the potential for deadly truck crashes, and protect victims when they do occur, members of the US House of Representatives have introduced two key pieces of legislation. Both are currently at the committee stage, so it may be some time before these new rules are put in place.
Still, even if these measures pass, no law can absolutely prevent all truck collisions. You should discuss your legal options with a Baltimore County, MD motor vehicle accident lawyer if you were hurt, and read on for an overview of the two bills.
Increase in Minimum Insurance Coverage
For over three decades, truck drivers and companies have been required to carry insurance policies. With amounts established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The regulations mandate at least $750,000 in coverage for most trucks. Though the amount is higher for those that haul hazardous substances. The INSURANCE Act is a measure that would increase this amount to reflect inflation and cost of living, as many other federal laws do.
However, the bill would also address another important issue in truck accidents. The fact that medical care has skyrocketed over the last 30 years. Victims of collisions with trucks often face far more serious and catastrophic injuries as compared to other motor vehicle crashes. They are more likely to need treatment for:
- Traumatic brain injuries and other serious head injuries;
- Paralysis and disability, often resulting from spinal cord trauma;
- Burn injuries, typically where the truck is hauling hazardous substances;
- Amputation; and,
- Many more.
Sponsors of the INSURANCE Act propose an increase of around 6.5 times current coverage amounts. This could reach upwards of $4 million for some trucks.
Auto Braking for Trucks
The second of the two proposed trucking regulations is aimed at accident prevention, specifically through the vehicle’s brake system. The Safe Roads Act would make it mandatory for all new commercial vehicles to have automatic emergency braking systems installed, which must be used at all times while in operation. The crux of the law tasks the US Secretary of Transportation to issue standards. The details will not be available unless and until the bill passes. It is worthy of note that a similar bill failed to pass in past legislative sessions. Plus, the regulations will only apply to new trucks. Older models will not be equipped with automatic emergency braking systems.
Get Legal Help From a Baltimore County, MD Truck Accident Attorney
At the Law Offices of Michael A. Freedman, P.A., our team is committed to pursuing all available legal options to get the compensation you deserve as the victim of a truck accident. For more information on your rights and remedies under Maryland law, please contact our office to set up a free consultation with an experienced lawyer.