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Is Congress Making Trucks More Dangerous?

Is Congress Making Trucks More Dangerous

Our Big Rig Accident Attorney Explores This Question

Truck accidents kill and injure thousands of innocent people on America’s roads and highways every year. In 2014, nearly 4,000 people were killed and approximately 100,000 people were injured in accidents involving big rigs, 18-wheelers, semi-trucks and dump trucks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has been working hard to make trucks safer. But it looks like the trucking industry and the United States Congress are not happy about that. Talk to your big rig accident attorney to learn how to file a claim in case you are involved in a truck accident.

Congress is actively aiding and abetting the trucking industry

When big business gets priority over public safety, it’s usually the innocent people who suffer. Statistics show that the number of truck accidents has been on the rise, especially since the last economic depression when commercial vehicle operators saw their profits evaporate. They have been pushing for longer driving hours, among other changes, and “the United States Congress is aiding and abetting them by loosening safety rules even as truck drivers and their trucks are being pushed to their limit”, according to The Huffington Post.

The changes proposed by Congress to the existing regulations

Congress is working to pass a bill that would roll back some of the FMCSA regulations that are designed to make trucks safer. The bill is currently pending because of differences between the House and the Senate. The changes proposed in the bill include:

  • To increase the maximum number driving hours from 72 to 80: The existing Hours-of-Service (HoS) rules permit truck drivers to drive no more than 72 hours in a week. After the maximum allowed number of hours are up, they must take a rest break of at least 34 hours. This rules was designed to give truck drivers enough time to rest and sleep. The bill proposes to increase the maximum number of hours a driver is allowed to drive to 80 hours per week. In an industry already plagued by driver fatigue due to lack of rest and sleep, the proposed change could have catastrophic consequences.
  • To reduce the minimum age of truck drivers from 21 to 18: Currently, commercial vehicle operators can hire only those truck drivers who are 21 years old or older. The bill proposes to reduce the minimum age to 18. This is ill-advised because studies have shown that teenage drivers tend to be more prone to accidents. According to CDC: Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2,270 teens between the ages of 16-19 were killed and 221,313 were treated for injuries resulting from motor vehicle accidents in 2014. Teens represented only 7% of the US population in 2013 and yet they accounted for 11% ($10 billion) of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries.
  • Congress is making trucks more dangerous in other ways as well

    The proposed bill is not the only way Congress is working to make trucks more dangerous. They have also obstructed FMCSA’s plan to employ wireless technology that would allow better monitoring of truck drivers and their trucks. Many Congress members are also known to be in favor of allowing longer and larger trucks on the roads despite opposition from the public. The damages such trucks could do in the event of a crash could be horrific. Besides, bigger trucks would take up even more space on the roads and make life much more difficult for other drivers.

    Clearly, greed is getting priority over public safety. The facts presented above show that the United States Congress is selling out to the trucking industry and by doing so they are making trucks more dangerous. The FMCSA will fight hard to prevent the bill from being passed and it is the duty of every citizen to support their efforts to make America’s roads safer. Talk to a big rig accident attorney if you have been injured in a truck accident.