A new national survey shows that Americans overwhelming oppose efforts by the trucking and shipping industries to relax safety standards and allow longer and heavier trucks on our nation’s highways. The poll results counter a lobbying effort by the trucking and shipping industries to increase the size and weight of trucks in a six state “demonstration project.” The states in the project are Georgia, Maine, Michigan, South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin. The two industries have been lobbying Congress to increase the load limits for trucks in these states from 80,000 pounds to 97,000 pounds. According to a coalition of safety groups, larger and heavier trucks will mean more deaths and more damage to roads and bridges in this country.
Officials of Advocates, Public Citizen for Highway and Auto Safety, and the Truck Safety Coalition, a partnership of Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and Parents Against Tired Truckers held a news conference at the U.S. Capitol which included relatives of people killed in large truck crashes, or who were injured themselves recently to make their case against the project. Also participating in the news conference were U.S. Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and U.S. Rep. James McGovern (D-MA), who were called consumer and safety champions. Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook, in discussing the issue, observed:
There is overwhelming scientific evidence that shows the larger trucks get, the more difficult they are to control, the longer they take to stop, and the more dangerous they are to the motoring public. Today, we are telling the trucking and shipping industries that we don’t need a demolition derby on U.S. highways.
The independent survey of a representative sample of U.S. motorists conducted by Lake Research Partners found that 66% oppose changing laws to allow larger trucks carrying heavier loads. More than 80% believe that trucks pulling two or three trailers are not as safe as single-trailer trucks. The survey also found that the strong opposition to bigger trucks transcends political party, gender, age, and region. Jacqueline S. Gillan, vice president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, commented:
The American people have to share the roads with these super-sized trucks and are frighteningly aware of the dangers they pose. Increasing the size and weight of big trucks is an invitation for more deaths and road and bridge damage.
Each year, about 5,000 people are killed and more than 100,000 injured in crashes involving large trucks. While large trucks make up only 3% of all registered vehicles, they account for 9% of all fatal crashes. Heavy trucks also cause heavy damage to roads and bridges and increase the likelihood for catastrophic failure, such as the collapse of the Interstate-35 bridge in Minneapolis last summer, which killed 13 and injured another 145.
The trucking and shipping industries are pushing for larger and heavier trucks as Congress prepares next year to reauthorize the multi-billion dollar surface transportation bill. Congress must consider, not only the lives lost in crashes involving large trucks, but also the burden these trucks put on the nation’s infrastructure. The proposed legislation would protect our nation’s infrastructure and improve safety on U.S. highways by helping keep dangerously large and heavy tractor-trailer trucks off of them. It’s reported that one 80,000 pound tractor-trailer truck does as much damage to roads and bridges as 9,600 cars. Additionally, the cost of large truck crashes exceeds $41 billion per year. There are obvious safety risks created by these supergiant trucks. Congress should say no to even larger commercial trucks on our nation’s highways.
Source: Public Citizen
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.