Federal regulations are in place to help better ensure that commercial trucks are operated safely on the nation's roadways. These regulations touch on many different aspects of driving. One such area that was recently criticized involves attempts to help ensure that the driver's field of view is not obstructed.
Why should regulations allow for a potentially obstructed field of view? Although at first glance it may make sense to prohibit the use of anything that could obstruct a driver's view and potentially contribute to a truck crash, closer examination finds some flaws.
Most notably, recent technological innovations designed to increase the safety of these vehicles are often mounted on the windshield. Based on the language of current regulations, the use of these devices could be found to be a violation.
Is anything being done to update this law? In short, the answer is yes. This law will be updated.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently updated the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) to allow for the voluntary mounting of devices, like safety devices, on windshields of commercial trucks.
What kind of devices would qualify? The FMCSA specifically notes that video event records, lane departure warning systems and collision mitigation systems would qualify. The agency is also clear that the list provided within the regulation is not inclusive. Future innovations may qualify.
When does the rule go into effect? According to the Federal Register, The Daily Journal of the United States Government, the rule will go into effect on October 24, 2016.
However, there were temporary exemptions that already allowed the use of many of these devices. As a result, the agency does not expect the changes to cause economic harm to trucking companies. This belief is also supported by the fact that these devices are not required. The language of the regulation clearly states that use of these devices is voluntary.
What does this mean for victims of trucking accidents? This regulation is just one of many designed to help reduce the risk of accidents. If a trucking company or driver violates these regulations and the violation contributes to an accident, that driver or company may be liable for the damages associated with the accident. This can include costs connected to property damage, injuries, wrongful death and lost wages.
Those who are involved in an accident and believe the driver or trucking company may have violated safety regulations are wise to seek the counsel of an experienced tractor trailer accident attorney. This legal professional will better ensure your legal rights and remedies are protected.