The rate of deadly truck accidents has surged in recent years. Crashes involving large trucks killed nearly 4,000 people in 2012, a 16 percent increase from 2009. Read More
And though the nearly 11 million trucks traveling U.S. roads each year comprise only 4.7 percent of all passenger vehicles, they’re involved in 12.4 percent of all fatal crashes. Per miles driven, fatalities for trucks are a whopping 17 percent higher than for smaller vehicles.
Safety advocates point to over-fatigued drivers pressured by employers to reach their destinations quickly to cut costs for the rise in accidents. With all this in mind, the NTSB says trucking safety should be a higher priority – with more anti-collision technology, limits on drivers hours and regulation of trucking companies. Trucking Safety Should Be A Higher Priority
Unfortunately a recently unveiled $55.3 billion transportation spending bill blocks a variety of safety measures – despite mounting safety concerns and the surge in truck related deaths. The Battle in Congress
The proposed bill paves the way for a new generation of longer truck trailers and does away with plans to require trucking companies to carry higher insurance coverage.
The bill is backed by the trucking industry, a powerful force that spent $9.85 million lobbying Congress last year, making $7.96 million in contributions to political candidates, parties and action committees, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The industry is pushing for longer trucks to meet growing demand – largely due to the boom in online shopping and shipping.
A provision in the appropriations bill that would allow two trailers of up to 33-feet to be hauled in tandem, up from the current 28-foot limit, is drawing the most criticism – especially since double trailer rigs have crash rates that are 15 percent higher than single trailer rigs.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Conference of Mayors recently passed a resolution on commercial trucking which calls for collision avoidance requirements for heavy commercial vehicles, elimination of the legal use of Schedule II opioid drugs by truck drivers and an immediate deadline for raising the minimum insurance requirements for the trucking industry.
Road Safe America, a non-profit whose mission is to reduce injuries and deaths resulting from collisions between tractor-trailers and passenger vehicles, immediately applauded the passage of a resolution.
“It’s a tragedy when people are hurt or killed in needless crashes with heavy big-rigs,” said Steve Owings, President and co-founder of Road Safe America. “Support by the U.S. Conference of Mayors is helping to raise awareness of this important issue and helps gain additional national support, and for that, we are very grateful.” Resolution on Commercial Truck Safety Applauded
For information about trucking safety visit http://www.nhtsa.gov.