Safety Measures Rejected by Trucking Industry

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As the number of people killed in commercial truck accidents continues to climb, some in the trucking industry continue to decry measures aimed at preventing fatal tractor-trailer crashes.

Safety measures have taken hold for passenger vehicles, both in terms of onboard technology features and drivers acting more cautiously.  The results are evident; U.S. fatal motor vehicle crashes have steadily fallen in recent years.

The same is not true for the nation’s commercial trucking sector.  In the last 10 years are so, deadly big rig accidents have trended upward.

Despite all of this, the leader of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association recently lambasted federal lawmakers for their efforts to make commercial trucking safer. The OOIDA is a nearly 50-year-old organization that lobbies for professional truck drivers.

At the February 4 hearing of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety, the executive vice president of the OOIDA complained about many safety regulations placed on the trucking industry.

Dangerously Tired Truck Drivers

He objected to the federal Electronic Logging Device Mandate, which now requires commercial truckers to log their driving hours using computers versus the old paper log books. The ELD Mandate is the solution to truck drivers who in the past fudged their driving hours, keeping one set of books with their actual driving hours and another with false documentation to show law enforcement.

Why is this important? Big rig drivers can only be on the road a set number of hours per day and week for a good reason.  Truckers who ignore needed rest in order to maximize income (most are paid by the mile driven) may be dangerously tired behind the wheel.

Fatigued over-the-road truckers have been shown to cause deadly truck accidents. Yet the OOIDA complains the ELD Mandate is unfair to truck drivers.

One primary objection the OOIDA executive gave to the ELD Mandate in his Congressional testimony was the financial cost to truck drivers and motor carriers.

The OOIDA executive vice president also argued against future measures the federal government is considering to help protect potential victims of deadly truck accidents.

Speeding Big Rigs

One of those steps is to make speed limiters mandatory on 18-wheelers.  These devices would prevent commercial truck drivers hauling loads up to 80,000 pounds from driving dangerously fast. Last year, a law requiring new trucks to have speed limiters set to 65 mph was introduced on a bipartisan basis.

In a nod to trucking industry’s concerns, the proposed law requires the devices on new trucks.  It does not require older rigs to be retrofitted with them. Yet the motor carrier industry objects.

As long as trucking companies and commercial truck drivers continue to put their own economic interests ahead of public safety, reducing the number of fatal truck crashes will be difficult.

If you were seriously injured or lost a family member in a crash with a commercial truck, speak with a truck accident attorney about fighting for your legal rights to just compensation from those individuals and companies at fault.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.

Authored by Gray Ritter Graham, posted in Blog February 13, 2020


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