In January 2018, President Donald Trump tweeted that the executive branch of the U.S. government “has terminated more UNNECESSARY Regulations, in just 12 months, than any other Administration has terminated during their full term in office…” Deregulation under Trump is a priority, with the president adding: “THERE IS MUCH MORE TO COME!”
In practice, this means that a dozen transportation safety rules have been withdrawn, repealed, or delayed. Since the beginning of his administration, during which several deadly truck train accidents have occurred, no new transportation safety rules have been issued. According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), the rule propositions are not dead, but they are focusing on higher priorities at the moment.
Truck accidents are serious, and can cause lifelong injuries to those involved. If you or a loved one has been injured in such an accident, call a Houston truck accident lawyer from The Krist Law Firm, P.C. at (281) 283-8500 to schedule a free case evaluation.
Trump Administration Stalls Several New Transport Safety Regulations
The rules that the administration has sidelined or repealed include:
- Annual state inspections for bus operators
- Two crew members required in trains
- Installation of vehicle-to-vehicle communications in new cars and light trucks
- Strengthened inspection procedures for pipelines
- Ban of lithium ion battery shipments on aircraft
- Screening truck drivers and train engineers for sleep apnea
- Advanced braking systems for trains carrying crude oil
- Electronically limited speed for trucks
According to DOT studies, some of these rules would save both money and lives. For example, the electronic speed limiting of trucks to under 70 mph was estimated to save around 500 lives per year, and anywhere between $475 million and $5 billion dollars annually. Nonetheless, lobby groups such as the American Trucking Association now oppose the rule, arguing that the difference in speed between trucks and cars might increase the number of accidents. It is more likely that the real reason for their resistance is that lower truck speeds means longer shipping times, and therefore lower profits for the industry.
The Department of Transportation Is Serving Industry Instead of Society
According to James Owen, a top lawyer at the DOT, “even if a rule is one step away, if that rule is not justifiable because it harms safety and imposes unnecessarily high economic costs, for example, that rule will not advance.” He added that it’s typical for new administrations to take a different look at these kinds of regulations. But former DOT officials such as Neil Eisner are crying foul. He believes that the influence of industry lobbies on government regulations “is probably more powerful than it has ever been.”
The influence of industry is apparent when looking at the employment history of some new DOT officials:
- The head of the Federal Aviation Administration is Daniel Elwell, a former airline lobbyist.
- Deputy Transportation Secretary Jeff Rosen, who is spearheading the effort to repeal and modify old regulations, is a lawyer who used to represent General Motors and an airline lobbying group.
- Cathy Gautreaux, a top administrator at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, is the former executive director of a trucking advocacy group.
- Ron Batory, the former president of Conrail, is now the head of the Federal Railroad Administration.
- Howard Elliott, a former CSX executive, is now in charge of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
The government officials now in charge of imposing safety regulations on the transportation industry have deep ties to the very corporations they are supposed to regulate. Industry experience is necessary to understand and effectively regulate the nation’s transportation system. However, it appears that under the current administration, industry experience also means industry loyalty.
Hurt in an Accident Caused by a Truck? Call The Krist Law Firm, P.C. Today
The nation’s aviation sector is one of the safest in the world, but America’s roads and rail systems are still taking an unnecessary economic and human toll. Some of the regulations now being canceled could greatly reduce the amount of injuries and fatalities that occur because of truck and train accidents. When these casualties arise, a Houston personal injury lawyer from The Krist Law Firm, P.C. will be of great help in fighting for the compensation you deserve.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a train or trucking accident, contact us today at (281) 283-8500 to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.