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Georgia ‘eases’ trucking safety rules: Impact on startups

Georgia ‘eases’ trucking safety rules Impact on startups
Georgia ‘eases’ trucking safety rules Impact on startups

Georgia’s trucking industry is heading for a steep hill as a new bill gets introduced, dramatically altering the landscape of accident litigation in the US state. 

The Georgia General Assembly passed the Senate Bill 426. Lewis Brisbois attorneys says it “significantly limits the situations” in which an individual can take action against an insurer of a motor carrier. 

Many in the trucking industry are concerned about the uncertain future. There are fears that the amended bill could impact public safety and fair competition.

Ted Spaulding, Atlanta-based trial attorney and founder of Spaulding Injury Law, has told Freight Waves this will have a significant impact on e-commerce businesses relying on trucking. 

“For nearly a century, Georgia has stood as one of only four states to allow plaintiffs to sue insurance companies directly after accidents involving tractor-trailers.” However, this “thorn in the side of insurers” is about to change, and Spaulding believes it’s “not for the better.”

Georgia’s history on safety measures

This legislation was originally in place to safeguard and ensure fair compensation. This will significantly impact e-commerce businesses that believe there will still be a legal ground for truck owners to take legal recourse against insurance companies; however, it would be limited. For now, customers can only sue insurers directly, and this is also only if the company is bankrupt or insolvent. 

PMC Research Center notes that Georgia is a strategic location along the Middle Corridor, which makes it a key transit hub connecting Europe and Asia. 

In 2023, Georgia’s transportation and storage sector experienced moderate growth. It contributed to GDP increasing by 5.1%. This despite facing challenges like disruptions in trade with Russia. 

Photo credit: PMC Research Center

What it means for truck road safety

Before the Georgia General Assembly passed the Senate Bill 426, the old law incentivized insurers to thoroughly vet trucking firms. This automatically led to higher safety standards. 

Legal experts recon there is a high probability that insurers might become lax. This could lead to more dangerous drivers on the road. 

Impacting e-commerce and startups

Startups rely heavily on the reliability of the logistics provider and, indirectly, the safety of the trucking services. 

This new bill could spell trouble for e-commerce startups if there are increased accidents and reduced accountability. This would mean higher risks and, ultimately, disruptions in the supply chain. 

E-commerce owners have been urged to be more vigilant. They should only partner with reputable trucking firms which prioritize safety.

About the author

Mia is a multi-award-winning journalist. She has more than 14 years of experience in mainstream media. She's covered many historic moments that happened in Africa and internationally. She has a strong focus on human interest stories, to bring her readers and viewers closer to the topics at hand.

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