The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is responsible for implementing and enforcing commercial vehicle regulations that are designed to protect road users in Florida and around the country. Regulating industries that are vital to the nation’s economic well-being effectively can only be accomplished if the government agencies involved have relevant and accurate data to work with, but the FMCSA still relies on information provided by a large truck crash study conducted in 2003.
Much has changed since then, and the FMCSA understands that the data it currently uses was produced before cellphones were in wide use and semi-autonomous vehicle safety technologies like automatic emergency braking and lane departure systems were introduced. The FMCSA plans to conduct another commercial vehicle accident study to bridge this information gap, and a proposal from the agency published in the Federal Register on Jan. 15 asks for input on how the effort should be designed and conducted.
Groups that lobby on behalf of the logistics sector, advocacy organizations, and members of the public have 60 days to submit suggestions and comments. Issues that the new study is expected to address include the effectiveness of emerging tractor-trailer safety systems and the dangers posed by cellphone use. The 2003 truck accident study revealed that driver error was the primary cause of the vast majority of deadly commercial vehicle accidents where the truck was determined to have been at fault.
The safety systems the FMCSA will be studying gather and store vast amounts of information. Experienced personal injury attorneys pursuing civil remedies on behalf of truck accident victims may seek to have the commercial vehicles involved inspected in order to obtain this data. This electronic evidence could reveal how fast tractor-trailers were traveling when they crashed and whether or not their drivers took appropriate steps to avoid a collision.