Delay in Passing Traffic Safety Rules Endangers Motorists

At least half a dozen traffic safety rules that directly impact motorist safety continue to remain backlogged, while motorists remain at risk of injuries. According to a report, a number of traffic safety laws, including those that would require back seat passengers to wear seat belts and trucks to come with speed limiters, continue to remain backlogged.

The back seat seatbelt law continues to remain pending in spite of a law passed in 2012 that required the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to direct automakers to install devices in their cars that would warn the driver if a rear seat passenger was not wearing a seatbelt. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was given a period of three years to act, but the agency has failed to do so.

This back seat law is just one of several traffic safety laws whose implementation has been delayed, placing motorists at risk of injuries in accidents. The Associated Press conducted a review of several such rule-making actions that have been delayed under the last three federal administrations.  The review found that at least 13 such traffic safety rules are several years overdue. These rules have long crossed the deadlines that were set down for their execution.

In some cases, the rules have not been passed even though they have crossed their deadline as a result of fierce lobbying against their execution by powerful lobbies, including the auto industry. In other cases, the rules have been bogged down by typical bureaucratic hurdles.  More recently, the health crisis in 2020 caused government offices to shut down for several months and bureaucratic processes to become delayed further.

Many of the rules are very important, and must be passed as soon as is possible. For instance, one initiative in 2011 required commercial trucks to be equipped with speed-limiting devices to restrict their speeds.  Other rules are delayed as a result of opposition by the trucking industry. One of those rules is related to the medical evaluation of commercial truck drivers for sleep apnea, a sleep condition that can cause truck drivers to become extremely fatigued and sleepy in the daytime. This condition is directly linked to drowsy driving, a significant factor in truck driving accidents, but as a result of bureaucratic delays, the law continues to remain far from reality. Other rules that continue to remain pending include those that require side -impact protection for child seats. This rule has been pending at least since 2014. Some rules would require auto manufacturers to maintain records of defects while other rules would require buses to come with safety protection against ejections during accidents.

The longer these rules are delayed, the higher the exposure of motorists and passengers to the risk of preventable injuries in accidents.

If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in an auto accident, it is important that you talk to an attorney that is experienced  in representing persons injured in car accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia and discuss whether you have legal grounds for a claim for compensation.    

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