It was reported that the trucking industry has avoided legislation that would require a safety feature on trailers. However, a trucking industry spokesman stated that accident prevention should be the area on which to focus. Fewer accidents, in turn, could lead to a reduction in personal injury claims in New York and throughout the nation.
The safety equipment in question is the side guard rails that are installed on the sides of trailers in order to prevent a smaller vehicle from sliding underneath in a side collision. The equipment is required on all trailers in many other countries but has not been mandated in this country. Industry leaders claim that the weight of these devices can compromise the integrity of the trailer's structure. Though not required, there are individual cities that are ordering these guards on the equipment that they are purchasing.
There are safety groups who have alleged that the trucking industry has effectively lobbied lawmakers to ensure that these devices are not legally required on truck trailers. However, industry representatives have countered that there were no new bills introduced that addressed the issue for the industry to lobby against. Instead, it has stated that the safety groups and congress would be better served focusing on accident prevention rather than on equipment to lessen injuries after the fact.
As stated, some of these safety measures should include effective speed enforcement efforts, the reduction in distracted driving and greater employment of technology. One trucking official stated the best undercarriage protection would be one that was never needed. No matter what actions congress takes in the future, the best defense against personal injury claims and increased insurance rates is for drivers and carriers to practice safe driving and perform regular maintenance on equipment. However, accidents still happen and if a New York company finds it is facing this type of claim, an attorney who specializes in personal injury defense may be a valuable resource.
Source: thehill.com, "Report: Trucking industry avoids mandatory safety devices", Melanie Zanona, Feb. 7, 2017