TX House Bill Positioned To Shield Big Truck Companies From Liability
Big truck companies could be getting a “get out of jail free” card
A new Texas bill known as HB 19 has recently been filed, and if passed, its ramifications will further endanger the lives of Texas motorists. In short, HB 19 is legislation that gives truck companies fewer incentives to uphold their current safety standards. While trucking companies and lobbyists push to pass legislation that relaxes safety measures, Texas continues to be the most dangerous place in the country for big truck accidents.
Texas currently leads the nation in large truck accidents, and the trend continues to climb higher. Data collected by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) shows that big truck accidents in Texas have skyrocketed by nearly 30% in the last few years. In 2019 alone, Texas had more big truck accidents than Colorado, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Arizona, Mississippi, and Nebraska… combined!
Across Texas, more and more people are being injured by big trucks every day, and now is not the time to loosen safety rules.
HB 19 excuses companies from liability & emboldens their delay tactics
This legislation limits an injured victim’s access to crucial evidence and information to only 24 months after a company’s negligent conduct. HB 19 absolves companies from any independent compliance with federal or state safety regulations. The kind of information that’s likely to be limited under HB 19 is as follows:
Evidence that the trucking company ignored or falsified logbooks;
Evidence that the trucking company failed to maintain their commercial vehicles properly;
Evidence that the trucking company failed to provide employees with adequate training;
And other information.
HB 19 also limits “Texas’ Rules of Evidence,” effectively making it impossible for a jury to see a trucking company’s track record for safety violations. Under HB 19, trucking companies can essentially hide their safety violations from the public after just a short period of time. This legislation would allow big trucking companies to build a false narrative that they can use to misguide jury members and avoid accountability.
Anyone who’s ever been injured in a car accident knows that the companies that manage commercial vehicles will do everything they can to delay a payout. One of the most common tricks used by trucking companies is their ability to delay claims using their red-tape tactics. Trucking companies and their lawyers know that justice delayed is justice denied. HB 19 would only further embolden their delay tactics by increasing their incentives to delay.
Under HB 19, trucking companies will have more incentives to promote inaction in an effort to squander transparency.
What Texans can do to fight HB 19
The best way to fight HB 19 is to contact your legislators and let them know that you oppose the bill. The reality is that in order to protect the lives of all Texas motorists, we need more safety measures, not less. HB 19 is being pushed by powerful lobbyists whose only interests are protecting the profitability of big trucking companies.
HB 19 gives trucking corporations less incentive to follow safety measures, which means you and your family will be in greater jeopardy on the roads. It will make it harder to punish trucking companies through our courts when they infringe on safety standards. When bad actors do not follow the rules, they need to be held fully accountable by a jury of our peers in order to help protect us all.
When recklessness causes death, serious injuries, or the inability to work, trucking companies must face the consequences. Please take one second to raise awareness by sharing this article on Facebook.