In April 2016, laws that had been postponed starting in May 2015 were further delayed. Maryland motorists were originally scheduled to gain national protections in the form of commercial truck rules that could have gone into effect as soon as late April or mid-July. Because the Department of Transportation announced it would push the implementation of these regulations back, however, some will not be published until August.
One rule focused on drivers’ compliance with alcohol and drug laws. It was proposed that the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse serve as a database that recorded when any drivers failed or refused drug testing. The information, which would be recorded by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, would also be used by trucking companies. Carriers would have to perform mandatory checks on any new drivers they hired and provide data on their employees’ substance use violations.
The other delayed rule, which was developed by the FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, would address commercial truck speed. It would require truck operators to outfit any vehicles weighing more than 27,000 pounds with speed limiter devices that keep them from traveling too fast.
Commercial truck accidents may lead to serious property damage and lasting or permanent injuries. These accidents have numerous contributing factors, including the way truckers and carrier companies operate their vehicles. Some victims may wish to consult an attorney who might be able to pursue damages against the drivers they believe caused their accidents. Depending on their circumstances, however, they might be better off trying to determine whether these individuals worked for a negligent trucking company that failed to maintain its vehicles properly or that failed to enforce strict working-hour limitations. Such factors can easily impact a court’s decision on who is actually at fault.