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Spending bill alarms truck safety advocates

Once again,  the trucking industry is making people nervous.

tractor trailer

While I was doing research for this blog post yesterday, a tractor trailer accident in our area had Interstate 81 shut down for most of the day. The driver of the truck lost his life.

Trucking is a major industry across much of the country, including in our home region of NEPA. With all these large tractor trailers on the road alongside comparatively tiny passenger vehicles, the number of heavy trucking accidents has been rising for the last four years. You’d think, then, that safety would be more of a concern for lawmakers and industry officials. Unfortunately, not everyone sees it that way.

As truck accident lawyers, this is something we feel strongly about. This post will cover what you should know about how these changes could affect you.

new truck lawA new spending bill includes a provision that has highway safety advocates up in arms. If passed, the law would allow trucks to pull two 33-foot trailers in tandem, an increase from the current 28-foot limit. Safety advocates say will make the tractor trailers harder to handle,  and harder to stop.  While increasing the size of these mammoth vehicles, the bill will also do away with plans to increase trucking companies’ insurance requirement  (which, by the way, hasn’t gone up since 1980).

And the rest requirements for truck drivers? A few months back, a similar trucking-friendly provision in a spending bill changed those requirements so that truck drivers would no longer be required to get two consecutive nights of rest before resuming another (70+ hr) work week. Safety advocates expressed their grave concern, but to no avail. The new bill would make it even harder to have those rest rules reinstated.

While truck accidents are lower today than they were 10 yrs ago,  fatal truck accidents have been going up for the last few years. Double trailer combinations have crash rates 15% higher than single trailers.

The trucking industry says this change won’t affect safety and will cut costs, emissions

That might be an easy claim to make when the idea of a truck accident seems a far off possibility. But when you have witnessed the terrifying power of an 80,000lb truck colliding with a passenger car on the highway, and seen the real-life impact it has on people’s lives, safety is much harder to ignore.truck accidents

We cannot make safety a second or third priority. It must be first. This is an area in which we should be striving to move ever forward, not backward.

While it is typically the passengers of smaller vehicles who end up seriously hurt or killed in a truck accident, truck drivers have one of the most dangerous jobs in the country.  We seek to protect their rights as well as everyone else’s. This kind of legislation, while perhaps beneficial to trucking companies, does no favors for the drivers those companies depend on day in and day out.

If you or a loved one have been hurt in a truck accident, call our truck accident lawyer. We are here to answer your questions and help you determine the next steps to take.

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