In 1980, Congress deregulated the trucking industry. The government did set minimum insurance levels. But it left the insurance industry to make sure that trucking companies regulated their own safety requirements.
Unfortunately, deregulation of the trucking industry has made our roads much more dangerous than they were in 1980.
Trucking companies are required to have minimum public liability insurance. This is insurance that will pay victims injured by the company’s trucks and employees.
However, the minimum amounts were set by regulators in 1980, and they have not changed in forty years. With inflation and the skyrocketing costs of medical care, these amounts are insufficient for those injured in a truck accident today.
Large commercial trucks are more dangerous than ordinary passenger cars. They are heavier and take longer to stop. The increased weight also makes semis much more dangerous on impact.
During a truck collision, the raised height of 18-wheeler trucks can cause underriding which is dangerous and sometimes fatal. And with a higher center of gravity and length, semi trucks can jacknife or bobtail.
Because the deregulation of the trucking industry led to an increase in the difference in size and weight between trucks and cars, accidents involving trucks cause more damage today than they did in 1980.
For example, under the 1980 deregulation semi-trailers were allowed to expand in length from 48′ to 53′. Trucks are also now allowed to weigh in at 80,000 lbs.
If you’ve been in an accident with an 18-wheeler or other truck, or if you have any questions about the law governing trucking, call Justinian and Associates today. We offer a free consultation with a seasoned personal injury attorney (not a “screener”) who can discuss your story and questions, and explain your rights.