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New Transportation Law Could Help Protect Oklahoma Drivers

Posted on: January 6, 2016 by Edwards & Patterson Law


Highway traffic accidents are a major problem both in Oklahoma and throughout the country. Drivers involved in these accidents often suffer serious and potentially disabling injuries, incurring major medical expenses as well as lost wages which can threaten their ability to provide for themselves and their loved ones.

For Oklahoma drivers, a new national traffic safety act could help to not only reduce the number of car accidents, but also put a dent in the number of truck accidents that occur each year. The recently passed legislation promises to bring about far-reaching changes, while making the nation’s roads safer for all drivers.

Highlights of the New Traffic Safety Bill

According to crash statistics from the Oklahoma State Highway Patrol, over 68,000 people throughout the state were injured as the result of traffic accidents in 2014. Lawyers representing car accident victims commonly attribute these accidents to a number of factors, including unsafe driving behaviors, such as speeding and drunk driving, as well as issues such as poor road conditions or weather conditions.

In October 2015, a long awaited and sweeping piece of legislation was introduced, which promised both highway infrastructure reforms as well as increased funding for highway safety programs. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act was signed into law in early December, and according to an Auto Blog article on the bill, the FAST Act has provisions that will impact virtually all drivers and their passengers. Auto Blog lists highlights of the bill, which include the following:

  • Increased penalties for the auto industry. Attorneys commonly represent clients who have been injured as the result of automotive defects, such as malfunctioning airbags and faulty ignition switch problems. The FAST Act now triples the penalty automakers can be forced to pay, from $35 million to $105 million.
  • Protection for whistleblowers in the automotive industry. The FAST Act offers encouragement to automotive industry employees to exposeunsafe practices in the industry by offering them special protections should they choose to come forward.
  • Ensuring rental cars are safer. In the past, rental car companiesoften were negligent in failing to repair recalled cars, while continuing to rent them to customers. The FAST Act now requires any car being rented or loaned that was previously recalled to show proof of repairs made to the vehicle.
  • Requiring manufacturers to include older cars in recalls. If you are driving a car that is up to 15 years old, the car’s manufacturer must now include your vehicle in recalls and pay for repairs. The previous limit was 10 years.

According to the U.S. Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the FAST Act will also ensure more states are eligible for safety incentive grant funds that encourage states to adopt additional safety programs, while focusing funding on roadway safety critical needs. In light of the frequency of truck accidents and the severity of injuries involved with these accidents, the act also encourages states to increase safety awareness of commercial vehicles.

Hurt in an Oklahoma Traffic Accident? We Can Help

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car or truck accident, contact our experienced Oklahoma car and truck accident attorneys today. At Edwards & Patterson, we provide aggressive legal representation to ensure negligent parties are held accountable for the injuries they have caused. From our offices in McAlester and Tulsa, we handle cases throughout surrounding areas of Oklahoma and Arkansas. We can help you get compensation for the damages you have suffered in an accident or as the result of an automotive defect. Call or contact us online today for a free consultation.


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