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Senate subcommittee: More must be done to address trucking safety

It would perhaps be the understatement of the century to say that there has been no shortage of action -- and controversy -- on Capitol Hill over the course of the last two months. Indeed, from healthcare and immigration to the federal budget and Supreme Court vacancy, there has been no respite in either the halls of Congress or the Oval Office.

While this is perhaps not altogether unsurprising, it does raise concerns as to whether lawmakers are still paying sufficient attention to those matters, which despite not being on the same scale as those mentioned above, are nevertheless vital to the functioning of the nation. For example, are federal lawmakers continuing to make road safety a priority?

The good news is that it appears as if the fight to make our roads and highways safer has not been abandoned.

Just last week, the Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security convened for a hearing to discuss what can -- and should -- be done to address the issue of truck accidents, which have remained high in recent years owing to improving economic conditions.

To that end, the former president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testified at the hearing that the number of fatal truck accidents has increased by an astounding 22 percent since 2009 versus just 4 percent among other accident types.

One of the primary culprits behind these discouraging figures, according to the testimony of the chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, is distracted driving, which has long made the agency's "Most Wanted" listed for vehicular safety improvements. Indeed, he indicated that motorists texting while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in some type of crash.

The consensus among subcommittee members was that not only should semis remain shorter and lighter, but that more inspections and safety upgrades to the nation's trucking fleet are going to be necessary. Regarding the latter, this would include the installation of automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning systems and forward collision avoidance technology.

Here's hoping that we start to see more definitive movement on this front in 2017 ...

If you've suffered life-altering injuries or lost a loved one in a crash caused by the actions of a reckless trucker or trucking outfit, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional to learn more about your rights and your options for seeking justice.  

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