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Legislation could prevent some commercial vehicle accidents

The Safe Roads Act of 2019 was presented for consideration by three members of the House of Representatives on July 16. If passed, it may prevent commercial truck accidents on highways throughout Pennsylvania and the rest of the nation. It would require that new commercial trucks come equipped with an automatic emergency braking system. That system would need to be activated whenever the vehicle was being operated. According to one of the legislation's sponsors, this type of system could be installed for as little as $500 per vehicle.

Two of the three members of the House who introduced the bill also sponsor the INSURANCE Act. It would require commercial carriers to maintain minimum levels of insurance that would be adjusted based on the inflation rate of medical costs as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The Truck Safety Coalition lobbied for both bills to be introduced.

Members of the coalition were in Washington on the same day that the Safe Roads Act was formally introduced. As a non-profit group, the TSC is comprised of private citizens who have lost family members or other loved ones in commercial truck accidents. The group has also asked for other safety standards, such as mandatory speed-limiting technology in addition to side and underride guards on most commercial vehicles.

If a person is hurt in a crash involving a commercial vehicle, it may be possible to seek compensation from the truck's driver. Medical bills, lost wages and other damages incurred in a wreck may be available to someone who has been injured by an impaired or distracted driver. Punitive damages could also be awarded to an accident victim depending on the circumstances of the case. The defendant's employer may be liable for damages if it failed to inspect or maintain the truck that caused the crash to occur.

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