Deregulation under Trump is taking many forms and affecting several industry sectors. The Department of Transportation (DOT), for example, has delayed or withdrawn around a dozen safety regulations that would have applied to America’s trains, trucks, aircraft, and even pipelines. The rationale behind Trump safety regulations is that the economy will grow faster if transportation companies can avoid the additional costs of adhering to new rules. On the other hand, there is evidence showing that some of these regulations wouldn’t just save lives, but also reduce economic losses incurred because of accidents and waste.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident that could have been prevented by adhering to an industry regulation, call an Alabama truck accident lawyer from Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. at (205) 933-1500 today.
Trump famously stated that for every new regulation, he would slash two old ones. His claim seems to be holding true, as the following deregulation under Trump has occurred:
The DOT withdrew from consideration a rule that would require sleep apnea screening for commercial drivers and train engineers. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, untreated sleep apnea – a condition that interferes with a person’s ability to get adequate rest through sleep – was a cause in several fatal train and bus accidents that it investigated.
In 2013, a lone engineer improperly secured his train, which then barreled into a Canadian town and exploded, killing dozens. In response, the Federal Railroad Administration began considering a rule to require two crew members on all trains. The rule was waiting for approval at the White House by late 2016, but the Trump administration sent the rule back to the DOT. The freight industry opposed the rule because they are investing in automation and want to reduce, not increase, the number of crew members on their trains.
The DOT has repealed a rule that would have required the replacement of traditional air brakes on train cars carrying crude oil. In their place, these cars were to be equipped with a new kind of braking system that can stop the cars simultaneously, thus reducing the risk of derailment in an emergency. The freight industry claimed that the marginal safety benefits of the rule were outweighed by the significant costs of replacing the brakes.
This ambitious regulation aimed to install wireless communication systems in new cars and trucks that would help vehicles automatically avoid traffic collisions. The rule was taken off the White House’s active agenda, meaning that no action will be taken on it before the end of the fiscal year.
Passed in 2016, this rule would have required hybrid and electric vehicles to make a noise at low speeds to prevent collisions with pedestrians and cyclists. The DOT estimated that this requirement had the potential to avoid almost 3,000 injuries per year. The DOT has now pushed back the compliance deadline for automakers by another year. The new deadline is September 2020.
Another rule moved to the long-term agenda after industry pressure is a 2016 proposal to install speed limiting software on heavy trucks. According to DOT estimates, limiting truck speed to under 70 mph would save hundreds of lives each year while saving truck companies up to $1 billion in fuel costs. The installation cost was estimated to be anywhere from a few hundred to $2,000 dollars, but the American Trucking Association’s main complaint about the rule was that it would create hazardous speed differences between trucks and cars.
In response to a congressional directive, the Obama administration began work on a rule requiring states to annually inspect their buses. More than twenty states already do their own inspections, but other states complained that they lacked the budget to comply with the new regulation.
First proposed in 2015 in response to a fatal 2010 gas line explosion in California, this rule would require inspections of pipelines within 72 hours of a natural disaster or extreme weather event. The finalized rule was on the verge of being adopted when the Trump administration placed it into further review after concerns were raised by important industry stakeholders.
The above deregulation under Trump shows that the administration is taking industry groups at their word when they say that no new safety regulations are needed. As transport related accidents continue to take lives around the country, however, it’s apparent that safety improvements can still be made.
If you or a family member was injured in a transportation accident caused by industry deregulation under Trump, it is likely that an insurance company has offered you a settlement. It may be in your interest to consult with a lawyer before accepting that settlement, because you may be entitled to additional compensation. The Alabama personal injury lawyers at Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. are ready to advise you on your case. Contact us today at (205) 933-1500 to schedule a free case evaluation.