A bill introduced by New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, called the Truck Safety Act, seeks to overhaul the trucking industry.
A statement from Booker’s office says the act, “seeks to modernize truck safety standards on our nation’s roadways.”
“Truck drivers work extremely long days to deliver the goods we depend on and keep our economy moving, but too often this comes at the expense of their safety and the safety of other drivers,” Sen. Booker said. “We can significantly reduce the number of accidents on our nation’s highways by harnessing new technologies, and better protect victims of truck accidents by raising insurance minimums for trucks that haven’t changed in over 30 years. The Truck Safety Act will protect all drivers and make our nation’s highways safer.”
The bill addresses minimum insurance requirements, collision avoidance systems, speed limiters, driver pay, and commuting to and from terminals.
The Truck Safety Act seeks to increase minimum insurance levels from $750,000 to $1.5 million. “Insurance minimums have not been raised since the 1980’s and the current amounts do not provide adequate compensation for victims. The bill also increases insurance levels to keep pace with inflation, and gives the Secretary of Transportation discretion to raise minimum levels if deemed necessary,” Booker’s office states.
The bill would also mandate the use of crash warning and lane departure warning systems. The Truck Safety Act cites an NTSB statement that states that the warning systems would help prevent rear-end collisions and save lives.
The Truck Safety Act would also require the DOT to finalize a regulation that will require the use of speed limiting devices.
In addition, the bill would require truck drivers to be paid hourly, not per mile. “Unfortunately, standard industry practice is for truck drivers to be paid based on miles driven and not hours worked, causing truckers to be overworked which creates perilous safety conditions on the nation’s roads,” the bill states.
Lastly, the bill addresses “excessive commuting.” The Truck Safety Act would require a study on the effects of excessive commuting.
“There are concerns that far too often, truck drivers commute several hours to and from their base of operation, only adding to the grueling schedules many of them already work.”
The bill was introduced on Friday and has been referred to the Commerce Committee.