Congress recently proposed a $55 billion transportation bill that is very favorable to the trucking industry, as it eliminates a number of roadway safety measures designed to impede common causes of truck accidents. Reportedly, a number of large trucking interests lobbied hard for the measure, led by Fed Ex.
U.S. Truck Crash Deaths Increased Almost 20 Percent
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, an organization composed of numerous safety groups and insurance companies, opposes the bill, stating that truck crash deaths increased 17 percent from 2009 to 20013.
One of the proposed measures in the bill permits much bigger semis on the road. The provision allows for two trailers, each up to 33 feet long, to be hauled in tandem. The current federal limit is 28 feet. In its opposition to this proposal, the safety organization cited a study that determined double-trailer rigs crash 15 percent more than single-trailer trucks.
The new bill may put more tired truckers on the road, as it raises their allowable working and driving time to 82 hours per week. This would roll back the 34-hour restart provision passed only just a few years ago.
In addition, we’ll be sharing the road with heavier big rigs, as the bill increases current federal maximum truck weights to 129,000 pounds – up from today’s 80,000-pound limit.
Longer, Heavier Trucks on the Road
So what this potentially means is longer and heavier trucks with more fatigued drivers behind the wheel. Not an ideal recipe for reversing the catastrophic trend of rising truck accident deaths in the United States.
It’s clear with this legislation and the financial muscle driving it that the trucking industry puts profits before safety. So if you had a family member killed or have a loved one who was severely injured in a crash caused by a truck, you may want to contact an attorney who represents truck accident victims to work on your behalf in obtaining fair and just compensation.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.