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Feds extend comment time on truck safety rule proposal

Regardless of the nature of the issue you are bound to find those who stand on either side of the fence when it comes to federal government rule proposals. On one side are those who feel the government moves too fast or shouldn't move at all. On the other are those who feel the government moves too slowly.

Back in July, we posted about the fact that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had opened the window to public comment regarding a new rule for enhancing motor vehicle safety as it regards single unit trucks, or SUTs.

At that time, the expectation was that the window for comment would close on Sept. 21. But earlier this month, NHTSA announced that it would be reopening the subject to comment for another 30 days.

NHTSA reports that it received just 50 comments during the original comment period and officials say the extension should strike a good balance between keeping the rule-making process on track while encouraging more public input.

SUTs include dump trucks, garbage haulers, concrete mixers, tank trucks, trash trucks and local delivery trucks. Readers of our previous post may recall that the rules under consideration would require most newly manufactured SUTs to be equipped with standardized rear impact guards or underride crash protectors. Another provision would require these vehicles to have more "reflective material" to increase their visibility to other drivers.

That such enhancements might be of use seems clear. NHTSA says research has shown that of light vehicle occupant fatalities from impacts into the backs of SUTs, approximately 70 percent involved trucks with minimal or no underride guards. Based on that, NHTSA says requiring the guards should save lives.

Of course, that doesn't resolve issues for those who have already suffered injury as a result of accidents with trucks that were not their fault. Estimating the compensation that may be available is something to be left in the hands of experienced truck accident attorneys.

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