Orange County, CA- Senator Cory Booker (D.-NJ) introduced a bill he believes will make the roads safer and reduce truck accidents. The bill calls for drivers to be paid by hour, an increase in minimum insurance coverage and includes mandates for safety technology.
“Truck drivers work extremely long days to deliver the goods we depend on and keep our economy moving, but too often this comes at the expense of their safety and the safety of other drivers,” said Booker the leading Democrat on the Senate Commerce surface transportation subcommittee, which oversees trucking safety.
The Truck Safety Act calls for drivers to be paid an hourly wage instead of by the number of miles they drive, and instructs the Secretary of Transportation to institute the rule, according to Trucking Info.
While many in the trucking industry object to the notion that hourly pay will reduce fatigue-related accidents, truck accident attorneys believe this provision will eliminate some of the pressure put on truck drivers. Paying by the hour will reduce a driver’s incentive to speed, drive while fatigued or take shortcuts on vehicle maintenance.
Changing the way drivers are paid would also help reduce turnover rates which plague the industry and put more inexperienced drivers on the road.
The bill also calls for trucking companies and owner-operators to carry increased insurance coverage in the event of an accident. Currently, carriers and drivers are only required to have a minimum of $750,000 in coverage, an amount that hasn’t change on three decades, but the new bills calls for a minimum of $1.5 million.
That too is a provision trucking companies take issue with since they believe the current insurance minimum is enough to cover an accident.
Also include in the bill are two provisions which would require commercial trucks to be outfitted with crash avoidance technology and speed limiters. The American Trucking Association approves of both provisions, however the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is against speed limiters.
Booker noted that while fatal traffic accidents involving passenger vehicle motorists have declined significantly, fatal truck collisions have not.
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