The Horse Transportation Safety Act of 2013

Double-decker horse trailers are dangerous vehicles that can cause catastrophic highway accidents. Since they don’t provide adequate headroom for full-size horses, they’re also inhumane. Fortunately, the U.S. Congress has elected to do something about the problem of so-called “horse trucks.” Learn more about the Horse Transportation Safety Act of 2013, a federal bill that would ban horse trailers with two or more stories.

Assessing the Problem

No serious observer doubts that double-decker horse trailers pose a tremendous danger to drivers of smaller vehicles. Since they can be taller than an 18-wheeler’s trailer, they must avoid low bridges and may become ensnared by low-hanging vegetation on side roads. Worse, they’re designed to accommodate heavy animals on two levels. Depending on the weight of the horses and other cargo on the top level of a double-decker horse trailer, these vehicles may be dangerously top-heavy. On slippery, windswept or curvy roads, rollovers and jackknifes can threaten other drivers, cause significant property damage and result in needless horse deaths.

How the Horse Transportation Safety Act of 2013 Helps

The Horse Transportation Safety Act of 2013 is a simple bill with a simple goal: the outright banning of horse trailers with two or more stories. Using the powers outlined in the Interstate Commerce Act, the bill would make it illegal for such trailers to enter the United States or cross state lines. This would strengthen state-level bans in several jurisdictions. It would also reduce drivers’ exposure to deadly rollover accidents.

Likelihood of Passage

At the moment, Senate sponsors Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Mark Kirk of Illinois believe that the Horse Transportation Safety Act of 2013 has a strong chance of passage. Although it was initially feared that the bill would devastate trucking firms that cater to agricultural producers, the measure was reintroduced with language that would specifically exempt hog and cattle trailers. Since these animals have lower profiles, trailers that carry them don’t pose an outsize rollover risk.

Reviewing Your Options

While the Horse Transportation Safety Act of 2013 stands a decent chance of passage, it’s not yet the law of the land. Until it’s passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the President, transportation companies will be free to use dangerous double-decker “horse trucks” to transport live cargo. If you’re involved in an accident with such a vehicle, contact an NY law firm that has successfully prosecuted negligence cases against horse-transport operators. Call (716) 681-7190 at your convenience or visit our homepage.