Just read a New York Times op-ed piece titled “Trucks Are Killing Us”. As Syracuse NY trucking accident lawyers, we already knew that. And we also knew that truck-accident fatalities are increasing at the same time as car fatalities are decreasing. That’s because trucks are getting bigger and heavier, and their drivers are not getting any better. And that puts all of us who are on the road in danger.
We’re on the road – so to speak – to a major national trucking accident crisis. And what is congress doing about it? Making matters worse! Here are some of the things Congress has done according to the article:
- trimmed back well-considered safety improvements ordered by federal regulators, including, for example, a rule that allowed truck drivers to work only 70 hours a week (the new rule allows for 82 hours);
- eliminated the two-day required rest for truck drivers each week;
- discouraged the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from investing in wireless technology that would allow closer monitoring of drivers and their vehicle;
- signaled its willingness to allow longer and heavier trucks despite widespread public opposition;
- signaled it wants to lower the minimum age for drivers of large trucks that are allowed to travel from state to state to 18, from 21.
Why is Congress doing all this? The answer is $. That’s right, moola. To be more specific, trucking industry lobbying money.
The trucking industry, through its chief trade group, the American Trucking Associations, insists that safety-rules are costly and will destroy profits, raise rates for shippers and, ultimately, consumers. That’s not totally false – safety does cost something, and the cost has to be passed on to all of us somewhat. But by the same logic we should abandon seat belts and airbags in our cars (and by the way, trucks have no airbags and that’s because the trucking industry has lobbied against having to provide them!). Eliminating seat belts and airbags in our cars would bring down the cost of the car. Why is “safety first” the rule of the road for cars but not for trucks?
Again, it’s all about money. Trucking industry money. It’s a huge business. Almost everything in your home got to your neck of the woods by means of a tractor trailer. Meanwhile the death toll in truck-involved crashes rose 17 percent over the last 5 years while car crash fatalities have gone down 3%. Cars are getting safer while trucks are getting more dangerous.
I guess I can’t complain. More truck-related accidents means more business for me. But jeez, there has to be a better way to make a buck . . .
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
Central NY Personal Injury Lawyer
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.