Complying with state and federal trucking regulations is a significant responsibility for those operating in this industry. There are equipment, training, hiring and operational obligations that must be observed properly or the companies could face major consequences.
As such, any changes to policies or rules in this industry must be considered carefully before implementing. This is the situation currently facing trucking companies and lawmakers who have raised the issue of mandating the addition of side guards to all commercial trucks.
The Stop Underrides Act of 2017
Lawmakers recently proposed bipartisan legislation that would require trucks to have side guards in place. The guards would prevent cars from sliding underneath the truck in an accident, which causes catastrophic injuries and at least 200 deaths annually.
Currently, side guards are not required, though the National Transportation Safety Board does recommend that trucks have them. The proposed bill would change the recommendation to a requirement.
The cost of compliance
While there are potential benefits of installing side impact guards, there is also a cost associated with implementing the system. Trucking companies would need to pay for the parts and the addition of the bars, and there is a risk that the guards could increase the weight of the truck and weaken parts of the trailer. Both of these issues could cause other problems in the operation of the trucks.
In other words, there are challenges that trucking companies need to deal with when it comes to adding parts to their vehicles. It is typically far more difficult than people outside this industry might expect.
Responding to new legislation
Trucking companies must comply with federal legal requirements, but until measures like adding side guards become legally required, each company will need to decide whether and how to put certain safety protocols into practice.
This calls for an assessment of cost and resources that would be required. In such situations, it will be crucial for companies to understand their legal obligations and options so that a mistake or oversight does not become a costly legal dispute.